FAQ: Spacing between sentences

By March 17, 2011Language

Q: When working on documents I currently use two spaces after a full stop and one after a comma – is this incorrect or is it acceptable?

A: Current global best practice is one space across the board – after a full stop (period) and after general in-text punctuation. Contemporary word processing does things so neatly these days, automatically, that we don’t need to apply the old-fashioned typewriter-days rule of two spaces after a full stop.

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  • Tony Vink (@tonyvink) says:

    I found the following explanation in a book:
    “Thou Shall Not Use Comic Sans”
    365 Graphic Design Sins and Virtues: A Designer’s Almanac of Dos and Don’ts.
    It explains where the double spacing originated. Thought you might enjoy. 🙂

    “Ever since the
    introduction of movable type, the correct
    amount of space following a period has
    been a source of debate. Type set by
    hand utilized variously sized “spacers”
    depending on the chosen font and it was
    down to the compositor to decide what
    looked right. The introduction of the
    typewriter in the late 19th century
    changed all this because the type was
    monospaced, meaning each letter was
    allocated the same character width.
    A single space after a period was
    deemed insuffcient so the practice of double-spacing was taught widely, with
    hot-metal Linotype operators adopting
    the convention alongside regular typing-
    pool employees. Nowadays, modern
    digital fonts contain proportional
    kerning pairs and a slightly wider
    space is always added after a period,
    so a double space is no longer required.
    It’s ultimately down to the typographer
    but the convention is, always add a
    single space after a period. “TS

    see: http://www.creativeedge.com/book/-/9780132907224/type-and-typography/59

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