Don’t put two spaces after a period. Ever.

I don’t see this too often from copywriters anymore, but I still see it all the time from clients, account people and friends – two spaces after a period. Let’s just cut to the chase: it’s wrong. Don’t do it. Slate has an interesting article on why. (Well, interesting to students of writing and writing geeks like me.)
Monospaced type gives you text that looks “loose” and uneven; there’s a lot of white space between characters and words, so it’s more difficult to spot the spaces between sentences immediately. Hence the adoption of the two-space rule—on a typewriter, an extra space after a sentence makes text easier to read. Here’s the thing, though: Monospaced fonts went out in the 1970s. First electric typewriters and then computers began to offer people ways to create text using proportional fonts. Today nearly every font on your PC is proportional. (Courier is the one major exception.) Because we’ve all switched to modern fonts, adding two spaces after a period no longer enhances readability, typographers say. It diminishes it.
And there you have it. Next time you’re at a party and need scintillating conversation, break that one out. Or not.

4 Responses to “Don’t put two spaces after a period. Ever.”

  1. 1 Nicholas

    I’ve always put stock in a similar, but different explanation. Wordprocessing in Windows XP-vintage software leaves a lot to be desired as kerning goes, and 2 spaces “looks right” to a lot of people. To them, it does enhance readability.

  2. 2 Steven

    While you’re at it, it’s “flesh out” not “flush out” ideas.

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  2. 2 Sentence spacing: Do you go double or single?

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