One space or two?

I don’t really remember learning to type, like many of my generation, I just started typing and became better over time. What I do remember clearly is being told that it’s always two spaces after a full stop, and one after a comma. I never questioned this and, until recently, I would always automatically include two spaces after every full stop. I understand that the reason for the old two space rule is to do with the old typewriter (and early computer) fonts, which are monospaced. Two spaces were needed to improve readability. I don’t know much about typography so please do correct me if you know otherwise.

You may have noticed that my earlier blog posts always followed the two space rule but that, more recently, this has changed. Typing with two spaces after a full stop is automatic for me, and when I edit posts I have to remember to go back and check that I have amended this to one. The reason I started doing this is because I have been hearing that the two space rule has become outdated, and I wanted to see if I could change the way I type so that the new way becomes automatic for me.

Since I have started trying to change my ways, however, I have asked several people what they think about this. Of those I have spoken to, many feel that whether to include one space or two has become more of a personal choice than any hard and fast rule, and I am now wondering whether to just go back to the way I used to type…

What do you think? When writing, do you automatically include one space after a full stop, or two, and why? Do you think having two spaces improves readability? Would you have even noticed the different between this post, and this one, which followed the two space rule? I’d be interested to hear your views, and the reasons behind them, especially if you have a strong opinion either way.

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2 responses to “One space or two?

  1. You know, I’ve always wondered about this! I don’t use two spaces because I find it looks funny to me, I find one space easier to read, but I always wonder if two spaces is the right way. There are lots of things like this where I’m not quite sure what I should be doing!

    • Hey Alice – so glad to hear it’s not just me! I am sticking with one space now, as I don’t want to get stuck in my old-fashioned ways! I guess in time it will become as habitual as two spaces has been for me eventually, and I won’t give it a second thought.

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