Period-Space, Period-Space-Space

When you're happily typing away, and you finish a sentence, you end it with a period. But after that, do you put a single space, or two spaces before starting the next sentence?

Hello, world. You are cold and cruel.
Hello, world.  You are cold and cruel.

Me, I've always chosen to go with two spaces between, mainly because that's how it used to be done. But more recently, it seems that a single space is now acceptable as well. Still, I stick with double-space, because it provides more visual space between the sentences, and that's conceptually better to me, more readable. You?

6 comments:

Mike said...

Two spaces all the way.. that's the traditional correct way of typing. More hunt and peck typing is norm now with all the people who haven't bothered to pick up touch typing.. so the single space after period seems to be more common. But I'm a purest. I will insist on two spaces until I cannot type anymore.

Karen said...

http://www.getitwriteonline.com/archive/011803.htm
a ton of other sites citing the same.

It's an old habit that set you apart from people who didn't know what they were doing BACK THEN - technology has leveled the playing field. Don't be the old foggie that remembers "in my day...."

Get with it - it's one space.

Ben said...

It seems that about.com states their rules for DTP pretty clearly: "It is generally accepted that the practice of putting two spaces at the end of a sentence is a carryover from the days of typewriters with monospaced typefaces. Two spaces, it was believed, made it easier to see where one sentence ended and the next began.   ...   Today, with the prevalence of proportionally spaced fonts, some believe that the practice is no longer necessary and even detrimental to the appearance of text." That is, some believe that -- I'm not "some".

There seems to be an interesting discussion of opinions on everything2.com, and one guy even mentions that: "... the double space is a stylistic element to make it easier for humans to read text. Technically only a single character need be used to denote the termination of a sentence."

Wikipedia has some good references about the full stop (including a neat blurb on quotation differences between British and American English), which makes some excellent side points.

The main thing I'm getting is that two-spaces was the norm before, mainly due to monospaced fonts and the desire to improve readability between sentences. This has been usurped by having proportional fonts, so for decades they've considered one-spacing as the new standard.

But you know what? In many of today's typing cases, it's all moot: as mentioned on this guy's 1999 report, "almost all browsers will only render one space after the period".

Conceptually, I support my old habit of typing two spaces after sentences, but in all honesty, I think sometimes I slip into a single space anyway. It could be perhaps the years of typing HTML and knowing that the second space was absolutely useless and not going to make it to the webpage anyhow. [shrug]

Kevin said...

I heard 10 years ago from my Math teacher what Karen's link says about monospaced fonts.

That said, I've grown accustomed to using 2 spaces. So I'll stick with that out of habit. But sometimes, if I notice I've missed a space, I may not care too much.

James said...

Why waste the extra character. I used to do two space after a period, but now I've gotten used to just one. It saves me that little bit of carpal tunnel syndrome, and I'm all for it.

Princess Taj said...

Two spaces. I was taught that way, and I like. And besides, I don't think I can train my thumb to stop doing the "space space" motion after each sentence.

I say tomatoe you say tomato.