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I've been doing it all wrong - there is only one space after a period

RX8

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I was shocked to find out a few days ago that there is supposed to be only one space after a period. For as long as I have been typing on a computer I have always done two spaces. At some point it changed and left me behind. Did anyone else know this?

A few days ago I was proofreading an assignment my 6th grade son was doing on the computer and I told him he needed two spaces after the periods. He made the change. A day later, after finding out I was wrong, I told my son that he was right all along. I used the excuse that it used to be two but it is now one. He laughed and called me a boomer.

Added: In fact, I had to go back and edit all my two spaces above to a single space. I added two spaces without even thinking about it. This is going to be hard for me.

How Many Spaces Should Be After a Period? (One vs. Two) (instructionalsolutions.com)
 

Karen G

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I taught high school typing for many years in the "olden" days before computers. It's really hard to break the habit of two spaces after periods.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Two spaces is still acceptable.

Using two spaces at the start of a sentence came about with typewriters. Tyepewriter fonts are proportional spaced, meaning each character occupies the same width, even if the character is a space or a period. On a typewriter a period fills the same space a letter "m". So when you put a single space at the beginning of a sentence, the visual break for a sentence was the same as the visual break between words, which made it hard to read. Two spaces became the norm, so that the break ahead of a sentence would stand out from the break between words.

With the switch to computers, almost all fonts are non-proportional, which means the period at the end of sentence occupies only a small. space. That provides enough of a visual cue so that a sentence break is visually clear. But two spaces also works. And by habit, most of the time I use two spaces in all of my reports.
 
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stmartinfan

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Another one of those generational differences, based on whether you learned on a typewriter or a keyboard! I keep trying to unlearn two spaces, but it's too engrained.
 

dioxide45

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I broke the two space habit many years ago. Now when I review documents from others, or even myself, I do a find and replace to replace <period><space><space> with just <period><space>

Modern web browsers also remove double spaces from text displayed on the screen. So even if you try to enter two spaces, the browser will only render a single space. <<-I just tried it here.

You've probably been adjusting your car's rearview mirrors wrong all these years too.
 

rickandcindy23

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Two spaces is just fine. But your kids won't be able to read cursive writing. I wrote a letter to my granddaughter to thank her for a sweet thing she said to me, and she couldn't read it. She was 12. Our daughter had to teach her cursive.
 

dioxide45

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Y'all are going to wear out the spacebar on your keyboard. Especially posting here on TUG because none of your posts show up with two spaces after the period anyway. No matter how hard you try :p
 

mdurette

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Good grief do I know this, as my teenager is ALWAYS telling me to stop putting double spaces after a sentence. I recently helped her edit her high school application essays and had delete all all the double spaces I used because someone will notice the different style of typing.

The other thing I notice she does is indent paragraphs. I know growing up it started that way, then we were told no need to. Is this back??
 

pedro47

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Two spaces is just fine. But your kids won't be able to read cursive writing. I wrote a letter to my granddaughter to thank her for a sweet thing she said to me, and she couldn't read it. She was 12. Our daughter had to teach her cursive.
What is cursive writing ? Students now are taught how to use a computer and print their names.
 
  • Haha
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Talent312

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Physically writing anything, cursive or otherwise, will soon be a lost art.
Recently, I had to print a form, fill in the spaces, sign, scan it and email it back.
Geesh.
Even my contractor uses fillable PDF's with electronic signatures. No writing!
 

Cornell

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Two spaces is just fine. But your kids won't be able to read cursive writing. I wrote a letter to my granddaughter to thank her for a sweet thing she said to me, and she couldn't read it. She was 12. Our daughter had to teach her cursive.
My 17 YO was taught cursive in school
 

Iggyearl

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My Gosh. This is news to me!! I think the nuns will be rolling over in their graves. I've never even considered this heresy. I got a 100% on my senior typing exam in high school. Of course Tony DeBlasio was handing out extra paper when the 80 y/o teacher wasn't looking. :ROFLMAO:
I read the article and find myself thinking, "Is there anything sacred anymore?" Thanks, RX8. My world is shattered. :cry:
 

rhonda

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LOL, so many of us are rebels!

I've known this for quite a long time yet still type two spaces. Sometimes I hear my brain say, "The rule calls for only one space" and the other half my brain responds, "I don't care. I like two spaces." And there it is. I'm a two-space person.
 

"Roger"

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Just as an aside, the entire book Inside Chinatown (winner of the National Book Award last year) is printed in Courier type (the ten letters per inch typeface that used to be on typewriters). It is done for a reason associated with the novel, but I found it annoying, and, using an e-reader, switched the type face.

Chalk up modern typefaces to something we have switched over to and don't even think twice about.
 

clifffaith

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I'm sure it was on TUG in the last few years that I first learned about single space after a period. I think I pretty much just do a single now. Colon does still warrant a double space, however. I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to find out they had stopped teaching cursive. Learning cursive was a rite of passage and meant you were an "older" kid. Was at a wedding in the spring of 2018 and a school administrator cousin from Ohio told me they had gone back to teaching cursive in the last couple of years. I just don't understand not teaching it.
 

Patri

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My school district never stopped.
 

TheHolleys87

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Lol, loving this discussion! When typing on my phone or tablet, I tap the space bar twice and get a period and a single space. When typing on a keyboard I revert to my old habit and type the period and then tap the space bar twice.
Two spaces is still acceptable.

Using two spaces at the start of a sentence came about with typewriters. Tyepewriter fonts are proportional spaced, meaning each character occupies the same width, even if the character is a space or a period. On a typewriter a period fills the same space a letter "m". So when you put a single space at the beginning of a sentence, the visual break for a sentence was the same as the visual break between words, which made it hard to read. Two spaces became the norm, so that the break ahead of a sentence would stand out from the break between words.

With the switch to computers, almost all fonts are non-proportional, which means the period at the end of sentence occupies only a small. space. That provides enough of a visual cue so that a sentence break is visually clear. But two spaces also works. And by habit, most of the time I use two spaces in all of my reports.
Thank you for this explanation! I learned about putting only one space many years ago from one of the “for Dummies” books, but it didn’t explain why!
 

pedro47

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Regarding cursive writing, I got in a small fender bender in a parking lot with a young man in his late teens. As we exchanged information, I wrote out my name and number and gave it to him. He handed it back and asked me to print the info because he could not read cursive.
That was a very sad situation. IMHO.
 

wackymother

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I'm an editor, and I am here with an important message: one space after a period. One space after a colon. One. One. One.

Also, for those of you out there who have children approaching college age--the biggest giveaway that Mom or Dad (or Grandma or Grandpa) has helped the student with college essays is, predictably, two spaces after a period.
 
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