What do the AP Stylebook, Chicago Manual of Style, and MLA Style Manual have in common? They all recommend using a single space after a period. I’m with them, although I wouldn’t get worked up about it.
Farhad Manjoo’s with them too, but he does get worked up about it. He doesn’t mince words in this Slate article in which he writes, “Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.” He’s clearly not a fan of the “two spacers.”
If you went to high school in the years before typing class morphed into keyboarding, as I did, you were probably taught to use two spaces after a period (while typing on your IBM Selectric).
There was a reason two spaces were preferred for typewritten documents. Typewriters give characters the same amount of space without regard to how skinny or wide they are. In a line of type in which a skinny i takes up as much paper as a wide w, putting an extra space after a period arguably makes it easier to see when one sentence ends and the next one begins. That makes sense for those who are using a typewriter or a monospace typeface like Courier, but that’s a rarity these days.
So with the rationale for using two spaces having become obsolete, shouldn’t we drop the extra space? What do you think, are you a two-spacer or a one-spacer? You can answer by posting a comment or taking the poll below.