One Space, or Two?

Holy smokes! Someone get the oil can...

Do you use one space after a period, or two?

Do you know which is correct?

While scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day, I saw a post that said, “Nothing says over 40 like two spaces after a period.”

Even though I’m not yet 35, it got my attention because I use two spaces after a period. Does that mean I should trade in my laptop for a 19th-century typewriter and start wearing shawls?

Trying to put my offended young ego on the back burner, I started to question my double-space habit. It really got me wondering if one was technically more correct than the other.

As partial as I am to the (dinosaur) double tap, it seems there are more and more mentions of how single spacing is the way to go.

In the days of typewriters, two spaces were necessary for monospaced typesetting, which gave the same amount of space for every character, regardless of how much it actually used. I’s were given the same amount of space as W’s, so to make it easier on the eyes new sentences were set apart by double spacing.

Be that as it may, with today’s modern proportional spacing the necessity of double spaces has become obsolete.

I was taught in keyboarding class (which I’m not sure even exists anymore…) to put two spaces after a period, so my thumbs automatically do a double tap after each one.

I’m sure I could retrain myself, but do I really have to?
Do I have to drop the extra space?

The answer made mince meat out of my comfortable habit.

According to Brian Klems, online editor for Writer’s Digest:

 Nearly all stylebooks, including The Associate Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style, prefer single spacing after a period.

I personally think publishers tend to lean toward the single-space option because we’re in the era of “space is money,” and everyone is under pressure to make every word count.
Making the switch to single spacing helps keep editors from cringing, as well, I hear.

Even though I’m resistant and a bit disappointed about it, I guess I’ll start trying to re-train my (old) fingers and brain. Until then, thankfully WordPress has got my back.

Do you double or single space?

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