Are you guilty of double-spacing after a period? Or a question mark? Or an exclamation point?
Congratulations! This means that you were a conscientious student in school (ahem, over 25 years ago) – typing class specifically – and your typing teacher would be proud. Today, no teacher would probably sing your praises doing this because the practice of inserting two spaces after a period (or other punctuation mark) is no longer necessary or the norm.
One space after a period does not mean you are lazy, but it does make you look old-school!
Dropping the extra space after the period is not due to a time-saving effort or because people today are lazy. There was a legit reason behind the practice, so before you enter modern times, let’s take a little walk back in history to learn why double spaces existed.
Typewritten documents actually needed the extra space.
The typewriter has a monospaced font. This means that each letter, number, or punctuation mark is allotted the same amount of space before and after the character (i.e. the skinny letter “i” has just as much breadth of room as the chubby letter “m”). In short, sentences from a typewriter look long and the act of using two spaces after a sentence gives the reader an easy-to-see break between sentences.
Computers, and word processors, are much smarter creatures.
The characters used in computer fonts are spaced proportionally. Therefore, words look more “joined together” and the space in between is more defined. And individual sentences are easier on the eyes to tell apart. Thus, the extra space is not needed.
There are still a few fonts available that have monospacing, such as Courier and Lucida Console. Here is an example which illustrates the difference between a monospaced font (Courier) and a proportional font (Arial).
Not entirely convinced to drop the extra space? Read this:
If you continue to use that pesky extra space, you are aging yourself!
Whether you are writing website copy, a business proposal, a resume or CV, a blog post, or your profile on a dating app, using that double space will mark you as middle-aged. Let’s put it this way, I was the last class in high school to learn to type on an actual IBM typewriter (that was waaaay back in 1989) where the double spacing was drilled into my typing repertoire. The class after me and beyond used computers (and no double spaces). So anyone who uses the double space is someone who learned on a typewriter ages ago! If you are trying to maintain a certain “arbitrary” age in this youth-oriented world, that double space will “out” you faster than it takes for your Botox to set in!
The bottomline: One space after a period is a simple way to update your writing and maintain your youthful reputation. 😉