Two Spaces

Grammar of the Day – Two Spaces

There should be two spaces after a full stop. I know everyone says there should only be one. The style guides agree with them. Even this blog software agrees with them, turning all of my double spaces into singles. The one-spacers say we two-spacers are living in the past. They say that two spaces might have been needed when people were using those old-fashioned printing presses, but not now with our modern technology. They say we’re stubborn. Luddites, even. They dismiss us with condescension. They’re blithely sure that they’re right and we’re wrong, but they’re mistaken.

I have challenged one-spacers with eight little words, and not one of them has been able to meet the challenge. My challenge: Is this one sentence or two?

“When I was dying?” Fran finished for him.

The only way to know for sure is if full stops are consistently followed by two spaces. As it is, we don’t know if that question mark is at the end of a sentence, or in the middle of one. For clarity of communication, we have to bring back the double space.

So there.


About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.
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2 Responses to Two Spaces

  1. Who am I to argue? My early experience writing was with a Smith-Corona portable typewriter. Because those typed letters were evenly spaced, it was difficult to see the tiny period ending a sentence.

    We in the US are ALL for efficiency. As a result, we eliminate inefficiencies whenever possible. (Damn that Oxford comma!) Modern printers hooked to these lovely laptops use beautiful closely-kerned characters which make single spaces and the full-stop period more visible.

    That is not to say I’ll be miffed if I read sentences distanced from one another by a second space. I am not a fan of “efficiency above all”.

    Let there be individuality and personal style. I only ask that writing be easy to read. Above all, DO NOT use full justified text for anything but narrow columns.

    There is nothing harder for me to read than a sentence e x p a n d e d. on a page!

    Insert emoticon or EMOJI GRIN of your choice here.

    • arjaybe says:

      My portable was a Royal. These days I’m slowly learning how best to format my books for ePub. Latest – curly quotes. And no full justification, if I can help it. Ragged right all the way.

      When I first wrote Green Comet, I was doing my old familiar carriage return – tab for paragraphs. After I learned what a mess that makes of the CSS, I laboriously removed them all and started using a template.

      In case you might be interested in reading Green Comet, here’s a review of it.

      Chris really put a lot of effort into his review, but I wouldn’t ask you to go to his lengths. One paragraph or one line, whatever’s comfortable for you. I’m already pleased that you would offer.


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