A long argument that I’ve had with other PR professionals is whether or not to double space after periods. By my writing, you can clearly tell which side of the debate I’m on. But others insist that two spaces after a period is the way to go.
In the latest round of heckling, I sent a colleague this instant message: “Double spacing is old school. Please stop doing it…..” to which she replied “L o n g l i v e t h e d o u b l e s p a c e.”
Of course, we go back and forth on this all the time and it’s in good fun, but going through documents and removing double spaces is much less of a joy.
The “double-spacers” haven’t been able to give me a good argument as to why their way is correct, other than “it’s tradition” or “that’s how I learned to type in high school,” so I’ll lay out a few reasons why single spacing after a period is the new age of typing and should be adopted by all PR professionals moving forward.
Double spacing was invented for typewriters
Early typewriters used monospaced fonts where each character took up the same amount of horizontal space. The “two spaces after a period” rule was adopted specifically for these fonts because it helped to visually separate sentences. Now, we use computers and most fonts are proportional fonts that assign horizontal space based on the size of the letter – “M” and “W” are wider than “I” and “J” – which makes the typeface inherently easier to read. With modern technology, double spacing is no longer necessary. It actually looks like a typing error rather than a style.
The AP Stylebook says so
Page 334 of my 2004 AP Stylebook (I know, it’s time to update it) and Franco’s current subscription to www.apstylebook.com both clearly state “SPACING: Use a single space after a period at the end of a sentence.”
There you have it, a few solid reasons why single spacing after periods is correct. If you are a double-spacer, I encourage you to try to break the habit. If you’re like my colleague who will probably continue double spacing regardless of this blog post, I challenge you to give me a few solid reasons why your way is better.