How many spaces after a period?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by rhett7660, May 11, 2017.

?

Two or one space after a period?

  1. One Space

    31 vote(s)
    54.4%
  2. Two Space

    26 vote(s)
    45.6%
  1. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #1
    So me and my boss were discussing how many spaces "should" be after a period? Given everything we have read on the internet and talking to different folks, most including us say one. But there is still a large percentage of folks out there who still want to use two.

    So my question to all here, how many do you prefer or use? This could be for work or pleasure writing. I am just curious since I know we have a lot of folks here who have a lot of writing/typing under their belt.
     
  2. Scepticalscribe, May 11, 2017
    Last edited: May 12, 2017

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #2
    I assume that what you mean by the word "period" is what we Across The Pond have been brought up to describe as a full stop.

    When I was a student, - pre-computer days - my mother sent me on a typing course.

    Subsequently, I used her electric typewriter (that wonderful old indestructible IBM electric golfball) for writing essays, term papers, letters, applications, and so on. Anyway, that course instructed us that the proper way to write when typing was for a single space after a comma, - or, for a pause of any sort in the course of a sentence - whereas, when you came to a full stop, you were supposed to use two spaces after the full stop.

    This worked well with the old system (with typewriters and type-written material), - both physically - it looked better - and as a reader, because bit made it more legible. Actually, it made the typed page easier to read - both silently and aloud - and signalled to the reader that here was a longer pause than that intended by a comma.

    So, yes, even now, when writing anything, I will use two spaces after a full stop, and one everywhere else. In truth, it doesn't matter online, but, on the printed out page, it still looks and reads better.
     
  3. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68020

    Mr_Brightside_@

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    #3
    I believe the 'digital age' understanding is just one, and as @Scepticalscribe notes, the double is from typewriter days.
     
  4. rhett7660 thread starter macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #4
    Yes, full stop or " . " period! :) Of course you could substitute an exclamation mark " ! " or question mark " ? ".
     
  5. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #5
    I was taught two in typing class, and I still do it. Although typing on my phone has caused the double space to insert a period instead of, well, a double space.

    However, when I type manuscripts, they get double spaces unless I have to fit into a strict character limit that includes white space.
     
  6. rhett7660 thread starter macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #6
    I too was also taught in typing class to put two spaces, I still do it by habit.
     
  7. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #7
    Two spaces are from the time of monospaced fonts. Thankfully, we've moved past that and now have variable spaced fonts. And because we have these, there is only one space needed after a period, regardless of whether the text is on screen on in print.
     
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #8
    But, some of us - as is abundantly clear from the splendid responses to this thread thus far - were formally taught to use two spaces, and will use them until the day we pop our proverbial clogs, or simply expire........
     
  9. D.T. macrumors 604

    D.T.

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    #9
    Same here, though I've adopted using a single space in most casual digital correspondence. I've delivered a decent amount of formal writing (both digital and print), and in that capacity, I use two spaces after a period.

    Since this thread is about punctuation: I've seen you use what I'd consider a very uncommon punctuation construct - at least in terms of my US upbringing/education/professional experience - and that's a comma + hyphen (marked in bold/red above, and it also appeared in the next unquoted sentence).

    Just curious if that's in general use outside of the US, and/or in some kind of specific academic circles?
     
  10. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #10
    I suspect she is using the hyphen in place of an em-dash. Anyway, I use them fairly often too---albeit with three hyphens to approximate the character.
     
  11. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #11
    No, I think it is more that - when posting here - I am (usually) composing on the fly, as I think, or, as something occurs to me, and sometimes (subsequently) think of clarifications, or the need emphasise something, or something of the sort, that I may need to add. In other words, it is not an academic construct, or style, but is, rather, something that possibly reflects how I speak.

    Quite obviously, MR is a more informal setting than 'normal' (formal) writing, and allows for a less structured sentence style. However, I have noticed that I also tend to write that way in personal emails - adding in hyphens (and commas) as needed, and as points occur to me. If I have time, I will sometimes return to that sentence and re-write it, so that it becomes a full sentence in its own right.
     
  12. D.T. macrumors 604

    D.T.

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    #12
    Ahh, interesting! I just use a single to denote any of the three possible uses hyphen/en/em. Good ol' character subs when posting :)
     
  13. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #13
    Yes, exactly, it is intended to denote a dash, rather than a hyphen.

    My lectures tended to be full of the oral equivalent of the dash.
     
  14. D.T. macrumors 604

    D.T.

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    #14
    I have some common-to-me writing "ticks", as a software development I'm always using * for multiply vs. the x or X character.

    But one I've actually been asked about is the [?]

    I use this to denote kind of a rhetorical indicator. This morning I responded to an email with: I would figure that's the case, I have no idea if they're deploying today[?]

    I was saying I don't know, you might know, but I really don't care :D
     
  15. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #15
    Ah that's interesting, I rather like that, actually.
     
  16. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #16
    • One space for proportional-spaced fonts (most computer fonts).
    • Two spaces for monospace fonts (courtier, loucida, anything that looks like a typewriter).

    [​IMG]

    At the end, it doesn't matter. If you notice on Microsoft Word, if you put one or two spaces at the end of a sentence, the actual space they take up is the same. Putting two spaces after a proportional font squishes each of the spaces to be half as wide. Putting one space produces a wider space. The net width of blankness between sentences remains the same.
     
  17. rhett7660 thread starter macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #17
    That is interesting re: MS Word, I have never noticed that. Have to fire it up and take a look!
     
  18. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #18
    I'm in the one camp. But as I can't type for toffies (if God had meant me to use more than three fingers to type he'd have made my brain different!) and am dyslexic I'm certainly no authority on the subject!
    Presumably it should be 2 after an exclamation mark as well??
    What about a double question mark. Is that 4???

    I could go on... (insert suitable spacing here)
    :eek:
     
  19. oneMadRssn macrumors 68040

    oneMadRssn

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    #19
    Turn on the formatting markups to see it better, it's clear as day when you do that.

    upload_2017-5-11_18-23-47.png
     
  20. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

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    #20
    I was formally taught to use two spaces. On a typewriter. Which had a single mono spaced font. I now use a keyboard on a computer, a tablet, and a phone which has variable spaced fonts.

    Not everything either of us was formally taught is correct anymore. (; Sometimes we were taught wrong and others, as in this case, "correct" changes.
     
  21. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #21
    For me, it is more an automatic thing; however, as I tend to use "justified" when writing large blocs - or pages - of text - (and Garamond, when the option to choose a font is open to me) the spacing does seem to arrange itself - sometimes, quite elegantly.
    --- Post Merged, May 12, 2017 ---
    Anytime you bring a sentence to a conclusion - such as, with the use of a full stop, or with a question mark, (or when you bring it to an abrupt halt, such as with an exclamation mark), I always use two spaces.
     
  22. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #22
    Regardless of what you were taught or believe in, or what practice you attempt to follow... The language of the Web, HTML (HyperText Markup Language), by default ignores additional spacing (beyond one character-space) following a period. Ergo, even if you typed two spaces after the periods in your sentences written in this thread, only one will be displayed...
     
  23. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #23
    I always use two, as that's how I learned.
     
  24. Roller macrumors 68020

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    #24
    I taught myself to type using a book ("Typing Made Easy" or something similar) and a manual Underwood typewriter when I was a pre-teen. I don't recall with certainty, but probably learned to insert two spaces following each period. I switched to single spaces at some point early in the digital age.

    These days, I'm far less concerned about the number of spaces that appear after periods as I am about the words that make up the sentences that fall between them. Email and SMS have fostered a lack of attention to detail that also afflicts more formal forms of written communication.
     
  25. Plett macrumors newbie

    Plett

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    #25
    Like some others have mentioned I too was taught two spaces. Haven't even thought about it until this thread. As ingrained as fastening a seatbelt to me, and I am not a grammar or punctuation expert by any stretch.
     

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