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LuckyGuy's avatar

Is there really a scientific case for using 2 spaces after the period?

Asked by LuckyGuy (37287points) May 15th, 2018

I just read this article in the Atlantic: Study – Two Scientrific Case For Two Spaces After a Period . Skidmore College researchers performed a study to answer the question.
I was taught to use 2 spaces, but I learned keyboarding on a typewriter.
I’ve found that as I get older the periods in some fonts are getting difficult to see without “cheater” reading glasses. The two spaces make the end of the sentence stand out.
Do you still use 2 spaces?
Are there other studies that cover this burning issue?
What style do librarians prefer?

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23 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I always used 1, an was never taught otherwise.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Likewise, never used two and was never taught to do so.

Bill1939's avatar

I also learned to type on mechanical typewriters and to use two spaces after a period, question mark and exclamation mark (and after colons and semicolons, I think). I continue to do this using word processors because it seems to me that it makes reading easier.

zenvelo's avatar

I learned my practiced hunt’n’peck on a typewriter, but was never told one way or another about two spaces. I started doing it when we got computers at work and I had to create my own memos. A boss chastised me for not using two spaces.

But my experience over the years is that it presents much better on the page to use two spaces. And the presentation seems more important than the minimal energy saved from only using the space bar once instead of twice.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I learned to type in the days of manual typewriters, and we were taught to use two spaces. Even now, 50 years later, I still use two spaces.

I can’t speak to the salubrious effect of two spaces versus one. I think this is one of those conundra that will never be solved. Like which way the toilet paper should roll off the holder.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The reason the “one space” came about, I was told, was that for computer “two spaces” took up more storage space.

janbb's avatar

Librarians prefer two.

LuckyGuy's avatar

^ The definitive answer! I mean, who reads more than a librarian?
I think the 2 spaces make the sentence easier to read.

Oooo! Let’s make the period 50% larger and use a single space to save on document storage size. Seriously, on my laptop I can barely see the period at the end of this sentence – .
I can see this one easily – .


marinelife's avatar

I am a one space person.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I think that we need to create a support organization for people who are in favor of a single space. We could call them…

space cadets

janbb's avatar

Actually, I think two spacers are now the oppressed minority.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I was taught that it was mandatory to use 2 spaces. That seemed to hold true UNTIL Twitter 140 character messaging became popular. I still used 2. Then I was on one web site where I was informed that using 2 spaces highlighted that I was over 50 & that meant that my opinion was null & void. So, to test that theory, I closed my account & opened another under a new name & started using 1 space after my periods. Suddenly I was being listened to. Now that I’ve gotten used to using 1 space, I don’t even notice it anymore. Visually, I prefer 2 spaces; but, I’m beginning to notice that life no longer cares what I prefer. My Mom always said that life changes & continues to move on & I’m beginning to understand what she meant. I guess my generation did the same thing to her generation. I just hope we did it with a litte more respect!!!

KNOWITALL's avatar

Always used the two spaces, that’s how it was taught in my school.

Yellowdog's avatar

Two spaces is easier to read—to not do it is akin to not making paragraphs, Its easier to read. It is a fairly standard practice.

It is NOT incorrect, however, to not include two spaces. My bad habit is dashes—I’ve had academic work rejected because of dashes.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Easier readability and overall attractiveness of the paragraph.

Brian1946's avatar

Here is a sentence prefacing a separation of one space. I have no trouble determining where the previous sentence ends and where this one begins.

This is a sentence prefacing my attempted separation using two spaces. Apparently Fluther doesn’t process the extra space, and it could be that whoever wrote its script deems one space to be sufficient.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Yes and it not just “Full Stop” @Brian1946, any time you ad extra space Fluther closes up the distance to once one space.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I think we just need larger periods and, while we’re at it, larger colons and semicolons. I have trouble telling them apart sometimes.

I wonder if there is a font with larger punctuation marks. Clearly there is a need.

LadyMarissa's avatar

It’s not just Fluther that closes up the extra space. It seems most sites do that now.
I’m not sure that larger punctuation would help. I need younger eyes!!!

2davidc8's avatar

@Yellowdog Not just dashes, but also the usage of a slash (/) instead of “or”. Those things seem to have come about with the popularity of computers and the internet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Two. Always. It’s just easier to read.

Yellowdog's avatar

I don’t use colons because I might get colon cancer. I use separate sentences

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