Double Spacing After a Period

I thought this was settled science. You do not double space after a period. Look how ludicrous it looks.

(Note below. WordPress won’t even allow for a double space in my example below!!! I rest my case.)

I thought this was settled science. You do not double space after a period. Look how ludicrous it looks.

Double spacing after a period is for students that want to make their essays look longer.

Okay, let the war begin.

72 Comments on Double Spacing After a Period

  1. Double spacing used to be taught in old timey typing classes. Typesetters never did it.

    New heresy is to add spaces around slashes: s / s instead of correct s/s

    Another new heresy is to substitute *x* for “x”

  2. That’s the way I was taught in high school typing class (on an old upright!) and I’ve had trouble breaking the habit.

  3. I was taught DSAAP in typing class 45 years ago. Never understood why. Must have had something to do with the mechanics of a typewriter and the visual appearance of a single space. I dunno.

  4. Mrs. Katz’s efforts are for naught here. Your double tap won’t register. It defaults to single space.

  5. Are we talking about line spaces, or spaces from sentence to sentence? Grammar and punctuation was never my strong suit. It was my first “D” on a report card.

  6. I’d rather discuss “Have a goodun”. Because the next person that says that to me today going to get an elbow sweep across the bridge of the nose.

  7. Whyhavespacesatall?There’snoneedtoidentifytheendofasentencewithaspacebiggerthanthosebetweenwords?

  8. I used to write training manuals, white papers, technical manuals, and copy for websites and print. When the double space was ‘retired’, I groused for just a bit.

    As soon as I got used to single space, I never went back. It looks more professional and is easier to read.

  9. Mrs. Katz would make us prepare multiple carbon copies when she was in a bad mood just out of spite, I never got over it. Hold me.

  10. Worked as a stenographer for NYS, Double spacing was the rule as taught in business school.

  11. I’ve been trying to set up a double space three way for years.
    So far I’ve only got one interested.. ME.

  12. It did used to be two spaces after a period (full stop) because the letters on typewriters were so wide and all were the same width. One space was not enough to see the break between the end of one sentence and the start of the next.

    When computers and their many fonts (and different sizes) arrived, the space was programmed with its own width, eliminating the need to compensate by making two spaces. (Not unlike what happened with the no preposition at the end of a sentence rule in Latin – the problem that existed in Latin when doing this didn’t exist in English, yet somehow some people continue to insist upon the rule.)

    When I was in university (graduated 2001), an English professor talked about this in our History of Criticism class. She said that MLA had made a ten-year allowance, but after that, the double space after periods needed to be history. (I don’t remember when the ten-year period started, but it’s obviously long-since expired.) I don’t know the APA, Chicago, etc. stand on it, but I’m guessing it’s the same, at least for Chicago, which I loathe much less than I used to. Still can’t stand APA, though.

  13. Don’t get me started on indentation impacting code flow. It was hard to write, it should be hard to read! You little Pythonic heretics, get off my lawn!

  14. With computers came proportional fonts and an end to the predilection for double space after a period.

  15. It’s muscle memory. And I just can’t stop. Make it stop. That felt really unnatural. aaaaaaaaaa. Back to sanity.

  16. My daughter made fun of me one day because I double spaced (as learned in HS typing). I looked the rule up so I could argue my point. I realized she was correct and stopped immediately because I don’t want my feelings hurt by a 22 year old.

  17. I thoughted proper grammmer wuz racist? Now it has to have proper sentence structure, but can still contain garbage and it is OK? ?make your sentences friendly and PC and snuggle them together.
    I think the ones who worry about this are the ones that are spaced.
    spacist racist— don’t be one
    there is just so much to keep up with in today’s world

  18. Double space after period is the rule. Always has been. Without rules we have chaos and anarchy. Only lazy people single space after a period. Also, while we are at it, the Oxford Comma is the correct use of a comma. Next up: Their, they’re, and there.

  19. Double spacing after a period may be out of date, but a preposition is still a great thing to end a sentence with!

  20. That’s what i learned in school. It’s what my fingers do reflexively.

    I’m trying to focus on what I’m writing. Focusing and judging on something so trivial is like someone calling out your grammar when you’re trying to make a point. Get over it.

  21. Always double space after a period. Even when it doesn’t show up. Have difficulty recalling the colon and semi-colon rules for spacing. But, hey – fuck it! Rules are ray-cyst! Come to think of it, anything you have to remember is ray-cyst!

    izlamo delenda est …

  22. is it OK to put a space before a period ? And then a double space before the next sentence . I’m sure that is what they want .

  23. Truth be told, I’ve seen some of the best wisdom scrawled on a bathroom wall.
    And let me tell you, that’s when you really want a double space.

  24. Traditionally, double space after period and single after comma.
    Double space after colon and single after semicolon.
    If right justification is used, the computer uses a lot of extra spaces to justify.

  25. Double spacing at the end of a sentence is used to differentiate between an abbreviation and the end of a sentence. Like the Oxford coma, it has been a standard, proper use of punctuation since time immemorial. However in today’s limited-function use of the written word it is easily cast aside.

    Double spacing when texting with an iPhone will produce a period. However iPhones don’t seem to know that the next letter after a colon is to be capitalized.

  26. What I hate is Microsoft WORD.
    When you open it to crate a new document, the “Normal” default setting is a space BETWEEN sentences. “No Spacing” must be selected.

    Fucking Bill Gates needs to take a dirt nap!

  27. Many decades ago, I learned to double space after a period in Mrs. Raney’s typing class in 7th grade. In college, I worked in print shops, running presses and setting type, where I learned the beauty and importance of kerning, which is the space between letters.

    Shortly after I finished college, the first MacIntosh computer came out –with fonts and kerning! I never double spaced again. (Nor did I ever have to wax up galleys of type again!)

    True trivia: We have fonts and kerning on our our pc’s because Steve Jobs had audited a calligraphy class, taught by a former monk, in his college daze:

  28. Just double space and be done with it! Yes, the history goes back to mechanical typewriters and nonproportional fonts. So what?

    p.s. I don’t have a strong recollection from manual typesetting, but my “feel” for it is yes, double space.

  29. I’ll defend it. (I just double-spaced in case the editor single-spaces me). It’s easier to read with two spaces at the end of a sentence. I understand the proportional character argument, but that doesn’t fully do it. Double-spacing at the end of a sentence makes it more clear when you are using various periods like etc., Dr., U.S.A., any abbreviation like St., Ave., etc. With that last, you knew I ended the sentence, not just the word.

  30. I’m going to type double space after this period. Why not? It’s how I was taught and I still do it. Test.

  31. I’ve done it out of habit for 30 years. It helps the reader to differentiate between periods used for abbreviations and those used for ends of sentences. Thus, it gives an added signal to the brain to make reading easier.

  32. @Little Morphin’ Annie, it’s the proverbial-“You beat me to it” when you mentioned kerning.

    You’re right. The reason for double spacing after a sentence went the way of the Dodo bird, once kerning was implemented into modern mechanical typsetting (typewriters included) and programmed into computer software.

    As an illustrator, I appreciate kerning because it makes designing with type fonts very easy and they become an incredibly flexible creative element.

    Besides, type fonts are no longer limited to Helvetica, Times Roman, Arial or typewriter font Courier. The variety of current type fonts are designed with kerning as a factor.

  33. Too. Fuckin. Bad.

    It helps dif. between abreviations like etc. and sentence stops. I suspect they are not double spacing Biden’s speeches and that is further screwing the screwball up.

  34. The manual typewriter theory due to font spacing vs. sentence readability appears being the most plausible theory.

    I used to think that the book publisher decided this. Mainly

    because, the publisher generally pays for the paper in printing

    books for sale, which may require millions of copies, if a book

    becomes popular and encompasses distributing them all over the

    world. Thus, there is more paper needed for printing books with

    double spaces between sentences and between lines. Additionally,

    more paper means more weight and higher shipping costs, especially

    bulk orders from overseas book dealers / distributors. So, in order

    to keep the publisher’s prices competitive and to squeeze as much

    sales profit as possible out of each copy, the single-space rule

    would seem being the likeliest reason.

    Relatively recently, in April of 2020 Microsoft apparently settled
    the space problem by updating MS Word to flag two spaces after a
    sentence period as an error. It would then suggest using one space as the correction to this error.

    I am experiencing this right now while typing on my computer using
    MW Word on the double-spaced sentences I used above this paragraph, but not on the double spaces between the period and beginning of a new period. However, there are no cross-outs or corrective flagging while typing this into the “Comments” section of this IOTW Report.

    Also, in April of that same year, the American Psychological Association’s Publication Manual changed their recommendation of using two spaces to using a single space. So, it appears the change is likely long-term, since the use of the computer, with its font sizing and spacing abilities, is not likely to revert back to that of the typewriter, which, then, is also beneficial (money-wise) to the publisher.

  35. WordPerfect was far superior to MS Word.
    Full control over underline and strike through. With reveal codes one could control all spacing, etc.
    I had to control drafts from original published text to proposed ew rule text. WordPrrfect worked. Word inserted its own coding between drafts.
    Now, I use Pages, simple included Apple version on the iMac.

  36. Used to give as much space as possible for periods. I no longer frequent the dating scene so could care less.

  37. @pianamusic. – So Microsoft decided we should use one space after a period? Now I KNOW I am not changing! F**k Bill Gates. In fact, from now on I’m putting 3 spaces after a period. And question marks and exclamation points, too!

  38. If we single space after periods, then what next — single spacing after question marks?

    – Equity

  39. Usually after a period– I would just feel guilty from eating my body weight in carbs.
    I suppose that’s more than you needed to know 😁

  40. I’m one of those who learned to follow a sentence-ending period with two spaces. I still type that way: I can’t be bothered to try to break the habit, and a very large proportion of my typing is in systems such as iOTWR’s that collapse all multiple spaces down to single ones anyway.

    It still makes sense when using a fixed width typeface; proportional spacing not so much.

    I’m curious if there’s a way to “force” a double space.

    Test line 1.

    Test line 2.

  41. Geeze, when I had to don white gloves to go to Katherin Gibbs school, not double spacing after a period earned you a demerit. I hear they don’t teach cursive anymore.

  42. Microsoft flags a double space as an error because of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines v2.0. WordPress would also incorporate the WCAG2.0 standards in its software as well.

    A few years ago I took part in an editing workshop for the job I had at the time. Most of the material was a re-hash of things I learned in… grammar school. Anyhoo, I don’t live in America anymore and it was interesting to see how my new country teaches (or doesn’t teach) grammar. No one here uses the double space, despite its obvious utility, but the real shocker came when the instructor actually said that it borders on a hate crime to double space.

    The web accessibility guidelines govern how people with disabilities access published information, and the instructor said the text-reader programs don’t recognise the double space. So every time I double space after a full stop, the program reads the sentence as ” [space] the dog went to the store.”

    I guess this is the international version of ‘Three Felonies a Day.’


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