I really need to train myself not to put two spaces between sentences since, for some strange reason, people frown on it nowadays.  Which makes no sense to me.  I would have thought it would have been less necessary on typewriters, which had font faces with equal width letters (monospaced), than today with so many fonts that are so much smaller.  So, in essence, not only are we removing a space, but the spaces are even narrower than they used to be.  WTF?  

Part of the reason for using two spaces between sentences was to differentiate between words with periods after them (a.m. for example or a name like S. M. Boyce).  This hasn't changed.  But the convention of using two spaces has.  Why isn't it still necessary?  Again, I don't understand.

Typewriters used two spaces to mimic type setters that used an enlarged space between sentences.  This wider space in type setting was phased out long ago, but the two spaces continued on straight into the computer age.  I was trained on it and I'm only 27.  So why is this enlarged space not needed, and why aren't we training our young people on it?  Shouldn't we be teaching our students in typing classes to only use one space?  But, no, we don't.

There's a lot of controversy on which is more desirable.  And the proponents on each side seem to be equally rabid.  There is no conclusive data on which is more readable.  In fact, while it has become an industry standard in publication to use one space, it has equally become a standard to use two everywhere else.  Every other field uses two spaces.  Everything.  Without fail, except publishing.

So, I get I'm going to have to reteach myself a couple of decades worth of bad habits.  I just don't understand why.  What do you think?

Photo credit: Insomnia PHT / Foter.com / CC BY-ND
3/18/2013 04:16:46 am

I'm currently training myself to use one space, and just like you, lol, am struggling with it. I have several manuscripts that have two spaces, all, and only recently learned by my editor friend that I can use Word;s find/re[lace function to change them. Wow. It was pretty time consuming changing them one at a time. :-)

I understand the history behind two spaces, and I do think it's more aesthetically appealing to have two spaces. ~sigh~ But, I'll go with industry standard and the Chicago Manual,, and relearn it with one :-)

Danielle Forrest
3/20/2013 09:30:49 pm

Yeah, I know about the word find thing. Unfortunately, I'm probably going to have to wait until I format the book to fix it because it's not working. I still keep finding double spaces... I think there is corrupted formatting or something in the book...

3/20/2013 06:42:08 pm

Less is better, so just one space after the end of a sentences makes more sense to me.

(Funny how you still used TWO spaces in this post!)

Danielle Forrest
3/20/2013 09:31:38 pm

I know, right? I can't seem to help myself! I'm a two space addict. I need a sponsor...

4/6/2013 02:01:32 pm

I'm coming in late to return the Sunday Snippet visit and saw this post. I had to laugh because I had to retrain myself this very thing! I love this post on the topic: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.html


Leave a Reply.