Are you still typing two spaces after the period in your documents?

Stop it. Your computer is not a typewriter! I recently received a rash of queries about whether it is best practice to put two spaces after a period in a letter or other document. Your word processing software is equipped with fonts that type designers created to make words and sentences followed by one space only. The font has dimension and each letter is a different size from the other, unlike type on a Corona typewriter (which has fonts that are all the same size).

However, the current edition of theManual of Style of the American Psychological Association  dictates the use of two spaces after a period (a change from previous issues). This manual is one of my go-to references for editing; but, there is no conclusive evidence to support that practice.

What is true is that two spaces were helpful in separating sentences when created on a typewriter. Letters were mono font, which means that each letter had the same spacing, whether it was the letter i or m. Today, type designers now use technology to create proportional fonts for word processing software, so there is no longer a need to use two spaces to separate sentences.

To each his own, but as a type lover, I respect the beauty and integrity of the type designer’s work. Also, if you submit your document for publishing, one of your spaces will be deleted before the work is published anyway (even if you used the nostalgic typewriter courier font); so, why waste your time with two spaces. And, two spaces may indicate you have a “typewriter mentality,” and you haven’t “gotten the memo” on the new order of publishing. I will leave you with the thought that we live in a democracy, so, as editors, we embrace the use of varying styles in our work.

The key is—BE CONSISTENT in whatever you choose to use. As for me (and my house), we will use one space at all times.

Let me help you put your best word forward!
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About The dutty is "the ground," the foundation, the earth--just like words are part of the foundation on which I build my life.

Reason for being: To tell stories and help writers and others with a message to put their best word forward.
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