Standard: Why You Should Never Type Two Spaces After a Period

Manual TypewriterHow many spaces should you type after a period? If you said, “Two,” it turns out you are the victim of a historical accident.

Every major style guide agrees on a single space after a period. But most of us were taught to type two spaces after a period. Why?

Blame the manual typewriter.

Quick typography lesson: Unlike printing presses and computers, which have proportional fonts like the one on this blog, manual typewriters only have monospaced fonts (see a sample of monospaced fonts), where every character has the same width.

To make up for the manual typewriter’s shortcomings, typing schools taught an entire generation the double-space rule. And the bad habit stuck, even when computers added proportional fonts in the 1970s.

Your computer is not a typewriter. It has proportional fonts. Stop typing two spaces after periods. Just stop it.

Hat tip to Farhad Manjoo at Slate for the history lesson.

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2 thoughts on “Standard: Why You Should Never Type Two Spaces After a Period

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