One Or Two Spaces After a Period?

Were you taught to put two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence? I was and I think many people were, but now most publications recommend using just one. I recently had to go through my 75,000 word manuscript and remove hundreds of spaces at the suggestion of an editor.

The modern and easy-to-follow style is to put one space after a period.

The stortwo-spaces-periody of spaces after periods is often told as though monospaced typewriter fonts needed  two spaces after a sentence for good readability, and that the wide availability of proportional fonts on computers led to the switch to one space. In mono spaced fonts, the letters are all the same width, so an i is the same width as an m, but in proportional fonts the letters are different widths, so an i is much narrower than an m.

 I was taught to use two spaces after a period in my high school typing class too, but you know what? I’ve learned to break the habit.  It’s not a physical addiction, like tobacco, drugs or alcohol. You aren’t going to find yourself in nostalgic typing situations and suddenly get hit by an unexpected urge to type two spaces. If you use two spaces, publishers will have to delete them. Yes, it’s not that hard to do it with search-and-replace. And everyone who makes the rules today agrees: It’s a one-space world. The Chicago Manual of Style, the US Government Printing Office Style Manual, and the AP Stylebook are just a few of the style guides that recommend one space after a period.


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