Are there one or two spaces after a period?
Chances are you answered two, I would have done the same, and apparently we are not alone. According to a survey conducted by Above The Law, approximately 65.9% of individuals answered “two spaces” and 34.1% responded “one space.” While two were always the custom for me, besides helping to reach my page requirement quicker throughout my academic career, I never knew why?
Floating through my Reeder feed the other day, I came across an article that questioned the two-space practice. Immediately, I googled one or two spaces after period. The results were a tad unsettling. A large majority of the sources advocated for one space after a period. How was it that I missed such an essential and fundamental rule change the past few decades???
Apparently, the two space practice was born at the hands of typewriters. Because the machines used monospaced fonts each character took up the same amount of space. Placing two spaces at the end of a sentence became wonted to make the text easier to read. Today almost all fonts are proportionally set, making the two-space practice obsolete.
While I, and most others (not-judging), continued to follow a period with two spaces there is no grammar or word usage manual that endorse the practice. Not MLA, not APA, and not Chicago Style either. Articles site the two-space rule as a “time-honored mistake,” blaming the oversight on our failure to adjust. So in short, if you type two spaces after a period, you’re doing it wrong.
Now, if you are anything like me, you’re still not sure where you stand with all of this. Because of that, I have few articles below to help you through your time of grief and transition. Losing an extra space can be tough, I know. I had to delete roughly 13 extra spaces editing this piece alone. Nonetheless, from this point forward I am taking my talents to Team One Space…
If you’re texting on your iPhone you can have it both ways—a quick double-space with your thumb will come out as a period with one space after it. That shortcut pairs the traditional typing action with the modern look, reconciling both factions through technology, the very thing that drove the wedge between them in the first place. Cite – Mental Floss
Above The Law – Small Firms, Big Lawyers: A Period Piece
Circa71 – Who says two spaces is wrong?
Quick and Dirty Tips – How Many Spaces After a Period?
And for a different, but equally persuasive opinion, Heracliean River – Why two spaces after a period isn’t wrong (or, the lies typographers tell about history)