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Spaces after a Period

Spacing Your Sentences: How Much Space Do You Need?

Changing Spaces in Changing Times

The argument continues, and the paper you have written is at the center of the debate.

I have not seen your paper, so I don’t know if you have left one space or two after the punctuation at the end of each sentence.

If you have left two spaces between sentences, you will have your defenders, but others will say you are wrong.

If you have left one space, you will be in the same position with some defending you and others saying you are wrong.

What should you do?

If you are submitting your paper for a grade, be sure to ask your teacher or your professor about the preferred or required spacing.

Whether it is one or two spaces, apply that standard consistently throughout your paper.

Two spaces

With the introduction of the manual typewriter in the workplace, placing two spaces between sentences became the convention.

In this practice, the typeface was a monospaced (or fixed-width) font. Each glyph had the same width.

The narrow i took up the same width as broader letters such as m and w.

To leave a single space, the width of one character, between sentences did not give as clear a visual break as two spaces did.

One space

In current practice, you leave one space between sentences. This is the accepted style for desktop publishing.

I’m sure you use a proportional font on your computer. This means that the different characters have different widths.

The i takes less space than the w, and the w takes less space than the m.

i

w

m

Consequently, a single space between sentences is wide enough for a clear visual break.

Changing times and professionalism

You can understand now that there was a need for two spaces between sentences when manual typewriters and their monospaced fonts were used.

Without a doubt, the use of computers and proportional fonts in professional publishing has superseded the double-space requirement between sentences.

Various manuals of style—Chicago, MLA, APA—agree that there should be one space between sentences.

As noted above, you do need to ask your instructor whether you are to use one space or two. Whether it is one or two, be sure to apply the requirement consistently throughout your paper.

One space or two? Judge for yourself

Compare the four identical paragraphs below. Observe closely to see the differences.

You will see them more easily on the desktop site than on the mobile site.

It would be better to make this comparison on paper. If you wish to do this, try copying these four paragraphs from the desktop site, paste them in MS Word, and print the document.

1. In Century Schoolbook: a proportional font

a. with two spaces between sentences

Will this argument ever be settled?  Proportional fonts are readily available to every computer user.  In the world of publishing, a single space between sentences has become the standard.  Monospaced fonts are still used, even on computers.  Many people remain convinced that two spaces between sentences is correct.  Which spacing do you find easier to read?  Which spacing do you find more aesthetically appealing?  Remember, though, to use the spacing required by your teacher, professor, or publisher.

b. with one space between sentences

Will this argument ever be settled? Proportional fonts are readily available to every computer user. In the world of publishing, a single space between sentences has become the standard. Monospaced fonts are still used, even on computers. Many people remain convinced that two spaces between sentences is correct. Which spacing do you find easier to read? Which spacing do you find more aesthetically appealing? Remember, though, to use the spacing required by your teacher, professor, or publisher.

2. In Courier: a monospaced font

a. with two spaces between sentences

Will this argument ever be settled?  Proportional fonts are readily available to every computer user.  In the world of publishing, a single space between sentences has become the standard.  Monospaced fonts are still used, even on computers.  Many people remain convinced that two spaces between sentences is correct.  Which spacing do you find easier to read?  Which spacing do you find more aesthetically appealing?  Remember, though, to use the spacing required by your teacher, professor, or publisher.

b. with one space between sentences

Will this argument ever be settled? Proportional fonts are readily available to every computer user. In the world of publishing, a single space between sentences has become the standard. Monospaced fonts are still used, even on computers. Many people remain convinced that two spaces between sentences is correct. Which spacing do you find easier to read? Which spacing do you find more aesthetically appealing? Remember, though, to use the spacing required by your teacher, professor, or publisher.

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Here are articles to help you with English words, grammar, and essay writing.

This item was written by Owen Fourie, owner of Flawhound, an online tutoring service guiding you to improve your writing skills.

Copyright © 2012 by English Essay Writing Tips www.englishessaywritingtips.com


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