Making the World More Understandable

1 Space or 2, Lives in the Balance

My sister recently posted an article from January 2011 on my Facebook page about how two spaces after a period is absolutely the wrong thing to do. My friends generally agreed.

Because said social media wouldn’t let me find the post again, I went to everyone’s buddy, Google, and searched for it. One result was “Why two spaces after a period isn’t wrong (or, the lies typographers…)” Well, that caught my attention.

This article, from November of 2011, is more a thesis paper about how the original article is “a fairy tale.” The author brings many interesting points to the reader’s attention, and cites a great deal of documentation that proves the point – I think. I must admit, that this treatise became more than a little long-winded for me and I started to scroll past large sections.

1 Space…

In short, here’s the argument for one space: it saves paper and makes publications cheaper.

… or 2

Two spaces have historical standing.

My Preference

We all like our space, but how much do we need in writing? Photo by L. Nicoles 2003
We all like our space, but how much do we need in writing?
Photo by L. Nicoles 2003

I used to be a two-space girl. Then I went to work for a company that had one-space as part of their documentation policy and I changed my habit.

Why I prefer one space after a period borders on the ridiculous. I do most of my writing in Word and I keep the normally hidden characters on. So, on the screen, there are little dots all over my writing, each indicating a space – why would I want two together. If I could selectively display hidden characters in Word, maybe I could become a two-space girl again.

In the End

What I really hate is justified alignment. If two spaces after a period is ugly (as the one-spacers tend to argue), then how does anyone tolerate the gaps that can happen when justifying a document? To me, that’s a real waste of space.

While a one-spacer myself, I love how the proponent for the two-spacers concluded:

“Yeah, typography is an art. Complaining about the way people space their sentences in their own documents is being an ass.”

(I did remove the second space between the sentences. But it was a non-breaking space and the bubble that Word uses to indicate those is REALLY annoying.)

-Lorrie Nicoles

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