You’re Probably Using Too Much Space After a Period

periodspacingI’ve been doing it wrong. Actually, I know I’ve been doing it wrong for a long time. You see the space after the period in these sentences? Double spaced. It used to be pretty standard. It was used to make sentences appear more separated. I was taught to do it that way.

You see, I was taught to type on a typewriter. When I started typing in school, we didn’t use computers with word processors. We used electric typewriters. And since their wasn’t variable spacing for the letters, and we only had one font, we used a double space after the periods. I got used to doing that.

These days, word processing software has made this obsolete. In fact, using a single space has been standard for many years. There was no need for me to learn to use a double space. But over the years, I was using a double space because that’s what I was taught and I was used to. Out of habit, I’d been using double spaces while knowing it was wrong.

Now, I’m typing with single spaces after the period. What about you? Do you use single or double spaces?

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22 thoughts on “You’re Probably Using Too Much Space After a Period”

  1. I’ve double spaced after a period for ages. I know you don’t have to, but I just can’t seem to stop my fingers from hitting the space bar that second time. Muscle memory maybe :p

  2. This double-space obsession with North Americans really irks me.
    One space after ponctuation marks, any punctuation mark (except for opening quote).
    This double-space silliness is not an English rule, just a silly typewriter bad habit that should have died with typewriters, but still lives on because some people don’t know their own language.

    1. It’s a typewriter rule that people just can’t stop using because they grew up using it. I’d say it’s an unconscious habit. I’d been doing it without thinking about it. I wouldn’t say it’s an obsession at all. I’ve stopped doing it, though.

      Publishers hate it, though. Since it’s not needed, they’re always trying to tell people to stop doing it. But I’d say the problem is mostly with older people.

  3. I just checked and it appears I use double space in computer written documents i.e. stores, but when I text or Facebook it’s single, because the period is set to automatically place after a single space. There’s more than likely a way to fix an entire document and make it single space. I, too, learned to type on a typewriter like people of my age/generation, and the habit is hard to kick when you’re on a computer. Even now writing this comment out, I’m using double space for periods and single space for commas. If I’d answered this on my phone, it would be single space for both.

      1. Exactly. Technology could fix this problem. It’ll be really hard to wean myself from the double space in Word, though I don’t print out a lot of stories now so I’m not as concerned with wasting paper.

  4. When I learned I usednhe double space. I learned on a typewriter, but when I used those first word processors I still used the double space. Sometime in University I stopped using the extra space.

  5. I’m too young for typewriters, but my teachers were not. I was taught to double space and continued well after my graduation out of general stubbornness.

    No, you don’t have to double space these days. But that’s not the same thing as saying you SHOULDN’T double space, which is what many people seem to take away from conversations like this. When I double spaced I ran into no problems with editors. Unless you’re looking for that extra space it’s hardly noticeable.

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