Sunday, December 4, 2011

Two Spaces After Every Sentence. Period.

    During formatting of the Kindle All-Stars Project, I noticed that there is a widespread debate amongst authors as to whether it is appropriate to press the space bar once or twice after every period.  Many nowadays swear that one-space is all that is required.
    They're wrong.  All of them, wrong, wrong, dead wrong, wrong, and stupid.
    Maybe I'm just getting cranky in my old age (Just turned 37 this October.  Yikes!).  But, as much as this is a holdover from my days as a kid in high-school taking typing classes, it is also a position I hold as a best-selling author on Amazon.  And I've got a pretty good reason for it too.
    It has to do with respecting the sentence, kids.  The sentence, that magical construct of the English language that can be as simple as verb/noun, as in: I ran.  It can also be as long and unwieldy as any grammatically-challenged blogger can render.  But still, the period or exclamation mark that ends a  sentence is singular in our language in that it gets to finish a sentence.  It isn't a weak little momentary pause like a comma, a dash, or a semi-colon.  It isn't greasy kid stuff like the ellipses that appears in every poorly written Young Adult novel.  ("Oh...Edmund...I was waiting for you....")
    It is the majestic sentence that all great works of literature are built upon, and it deserves two spaces after it gets finished, just to let you soak it up.  Don't let these internet suckers hype you up into thinking otherwise.  Hit that space bar twice and be glad you done it.


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  1. While I agree with you 100%, and for all the same reasons, I must defend the single space for only one reason: As a fellow Blogspot blogger, I have found that using two spaces after a period wreaks havoc with formatting on my blog. Why? Because I prefer the clean look of a straight right margin.

    Of course, in a professional document, ESPECIALLY a manuscript being submitted for publication, I believe there should ALWAYS be two spaces after each period and each colon for all the reasons you cited.

  2. I've only ever used a single space after the end of a sentence; it just looks neater to my eye.

    When it comes to reading I don't even notice if a block of text has one or two spaces after each sentence. Unless I'm copy-editing or proof-reading, of course...