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One space after a period or two


Reed Rothchild
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  1. 1. How many spaces?



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Member · Posted

Two.  It should always be two.  A period is easy to miss as your eye skims text.  Two spaces breaks up the sentence a bit and makes it easier to see the transition into a new thought.  However, when there are tight letter counts, the spaces are the first to go.

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Administrator · Posted

One space. The two spaces is from typewriters and monospace fonts. Kerning on modern systems eliminates the need. Anyone who's using two spaces online or in word processors today is only doing so because someone (often much) older than them insisted that it was a rule.

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This is a discussion/argument that I and a friend who worked in and was really involved in printing get into every so often.  I understand the reasoning for one space, as modern fonts on modern systems don't require it.  However, not everyone is using a modern system, plain text can (and frequently is) be ported to multiple systems which don't necessarily use modern fonts, and there's the point that @RH made above regarding a period being missed.  Reading a lot of text that's converted from one format or another to be read on a modern e-ink device, that last one sticks with me, as when the converter screws up the punctuation, it's a lot easier to keep reading coherently when the double space is present versus everything running all together, getting confused, and having to go back and re-read that section to figure out what's going on.

At present, last I checked, they're both accepted practices, with neither being considered "incorrect."  That last bit is one of the primary points that my friend and I disagree on--just because something isn't universally necessary anymore doesn't automatically make it incorrect.

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it's one. it's always one. one. unless you're padding your paper, it's one. one. jesus, it's one. it's not two nor has it ever been. if it was two then there'd be a second space bar for a 2 strike space. it's a space bar, not a space lane. one. shut up, it's one, just make the change. in fact, switching from two to one spaces means you're saving precious time. think about it: you're going to die and won't get those moments back, wasted days, from hitting the space bar twice. in conclusion: one.

slate has a nice article on it, but, to be fair, it should be more abusive and shaming to the two spacers.

Edited by zi
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13 minutes ago, Gloves said:

One space. The two spaces is from typewriters and monospace fonts. Kerning on modern systems eliminates the need. Anyone who's using two spaces online or in word processors today is only doing so because someone (often much) older than them insisted that it was a rule.

Yep. It's how I learned in middle school. 

Definitely one space in modern times though. 

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Administrator · Posted
1 minute ago, zi said:

it's one. it's always one. one. unless you're padding your paper, it's one. one. jesus, it's one. it's not two nor has it ever been. if it was two then there'd be a second space bar for a 2 strike space. it's a space bar, not a space lane. one. shut up, it's one, just make the change. in fact, switching from two to one spaces means you're saving precious time. think about it: you're going to die and won't get those moments back, wasted days, from hitting the space bar twice. in conclusion: one.

It's really painful seeing you both telling people how many spaces to use AND not using capitals at all.

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Just now, zi said:

it's one. it's always one. one. unless you're padding your paper, it's one. one. jesus, it's one. it's not two nor has it ever been. if it was two then there'd be a second space bar for a 2 strike space. it's a space bar, not a space lane. one. shut up, it's one, just make the change. in fact, switching from two to one spaces means you're saving precious time. think about it: you're going to die and won't get those moments back, wasted days, from hitting the space bar twice. in conclusion: one.

Would you like to take a bet on that one?  I'd have to do some digging to find it, but I should still have the professional typing textbook that I learned from that specifically references this.  As @Gloves pointed out above, it was two spaces for certain in the era of typewriters and old, monospace fonts.

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Editorials Team · Posted
Just now, Code Monkey said:

I literally didn't even know this was a debate, I've never heard of it before. I don't know why anyone would ever hit space twice after a period.

How old are you?

I asked this same question in my standup and no one under 25 knew what I was talking about.

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9 minutes ago, Gentlegamer said:

When I learned typing in high school on a typewriter, it was two spaces. Later, when typing went to word processors on home computers, it was changed to one space.

I was typing on PCs in high school and it was still two spaces at that point (late 90s).  Not sure when the teaching started to change over, but I've seen and heard of examples of both still being present in various schools today.  I expect that two spaces will fade over time (so long as modern fonts and such remain in usage), but at present is still considered acceptable/correct.

4 minutes ago, Code Monkey said:

38

You must have had some forward-thinking teachers at your school, as I'm only a couple of years older than you and had textbooks (current, modern ones, even) that specifically taught it as two spaces.  For you to have only ever learned one space makes me wonder if it wasn't your teacher making up the curriculum in its entirety versus relying on a supporting textbook.

Edited by darkchylde28
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Member · Posted

Comments about typography and kerning also "prove" it's two.  People can say not to add the second space, but if it's the text engine adding the space, visually, it's a still there.

Now, I understand that entering two spaces manually could be considered an "artifact" of the old days of type-writers and fixed-width characters, but the whether some form of engine is taking care of it, or not, the spacing is there.

I won't argue hard about it but IMHO, adding the space regardless is a good idea just in case your text renderer doesn't do it for you.  Of course, there are systems like HTML which since it's beginning use has always stripped double-spaces.  If a text renderer really wants tight-control of sentence and paragraph spacing, then at this point in in our modern world, it should just override any consecutive white-space the text generator has entered.

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14 minutes ago, Code Monkey said:

I literally didn't even know this was a debate, I've never heard of it before. I don't know why anyone would ever hit space twice after a period.

You and me both, bud. I didn't know anyone used 2 spaces after a period. It is one, I can't imagine 2 spaces after a period being taught to anyone at a scholastic level, it just doesn't make sense.

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Administrator · Posted
1 minute ago, Quaze said:

You and me both, bud. I didn't know anyone used 2 spaces after a period. It is one, I can't imagine 2 spaces after a period being taught to anyone at a scholastic level, it just doesn't make sense.

I actually learned that it was 2 spaces in my first computers class in elementary school. This was in like 1993 or so though, and by a really old woman. It became pretty clear after a few years that 2 spaces was the old way.

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34 minutes ago, Gloves said:

It's really painful seeing you both telling people how many spaces to use AND not using capitals at all.

THE FOCUS IS ON SPACES AND NOT oN CaPz!!!11!!!!11!!!!1! but still... one space. after en ellipsis... after a colun; no matter how, it's, speLd, we use one space. fine. hold on...

 

Ahem. One space after a comma, right? Not two spaces? One after a colon, a semi-colon, and (using an oxford comma like a gentleman) after parenthesis.

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37 minutes ago, darkchylde28 said:

Would you like to take a bet on that one?  I'd have to do some digging to find it, but I should still have the professional typing textbook that I learned from that specifically references this.  As @Gloves pointed out above, it was two spaces for certain in the era of typewriters and old, monospace fonts.

yes. i would like to bet. and i'll show you an equal amount of books that say one space. and probably have a more recent publish date. and credentialed author. one. space.

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