Switching Sides from Double-Spacing to Single-Spacing After a Period

I’m a double-spacer. Before today, I never really cared. I never really paid much attention to that long-standing and heated debate between the hard-line single-spacers and the old-school double-spacers. I learned to type using a typewriter, and I was trained to hit the spacebar twice after typing a complete sentence. I saw no point to changing a 20-year habit. None of my clients complained about my double-spacing or requested that I limit myself to one space after each sentence. For me, it really wasn’t such a big deal.

Except it really is a big deal.

Double spacing after sentences was certainly the norm when people still used typewriters to create documents. Typewriters have monospaced fonts, so typing two spaces at the end of sentences is necessary to make documents readable.

People rarely use typewriters now, though. We now live in the age of computers, and computer fonts are more proportionally spaced. So, the purpose behind double-spacing after sentences no longer applies.

Apparently, double-spacing after sentences on computer-encoded documents is more trouble than it’s worth as well.

Double-spacing at the end of a sentence creates wide gaps in documents. Inasmuch as we need to put as much white space as we can in the documents we create, hitting the spacebar twice after a stop just ruins their formatting.

And beyond aesthetics, two spaces after a sentence wastes other people’s time. Editors have to do extra work just to comb through those double spaces. So do the typographers who have to process the documents.

Well, I certainly don’t want to be a pain in someone else’s rear end. My clients may not have been complaining about my double-spacing, but who knows what extra work I may be putting their web designers through.

Besides, why do double-spacers insist on double-spacing even though they know it’s not the way to do it anymore? Mainly it’s because of habit. They’ve been typing double spaces after periods, question marks and exclamation points for so many years now that it’s become a habit.

I’d rather change an old habit than be considered self-indulgent and cause trouble for other people. As much as I love my double spaces, my work would be much simpler if I just switched sides and started typing single spaces after periods from now on.

Are you a double-spacer or a single-spacer? What’s your take on this debate? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.


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Anna Sibal-Gonzaga is a freelance writer based in the Philippines. She likes reading books and watching movies and TV shows in the sci-fi, fantasy and historical genres. She is also a casual gamer and an all-around nerd.

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