Sunday, June 1, 2008

The "Extra Space" is really dead

Like many of my generation, I learned to type on a typewriter. And it was drilled into my head that after a period, you typed TWO spaces.

Well, I was having this discussion with one of our copywriters / proofreaders recently, and she informed me that you are not supposed to put two spaces after a period anymore -- one is the new standard.

What the hell? When did this change? Why was there not a massive memo sent out to the world which communicated this new piece of information?

Supposedly, the change was due to the fact that with all our newfangled technology, this archaic practice was no longer necessary. Hell, HTML doesn't even recognize the second space, unless you specifically code it to do so. Who knew?

Still, because I'm a skeptic, I did a little digging of my own, and lo and behold, this is correct. Check it out:

Modern Language Association
Chicago Manual of Style
Writing 911

I found it on the interwebs, so it must be true. This is going to be a tough habit to break. I think I've already done it reflexively after every single fucking sentence I've typed in this post.

Was anyone else aware of this? And for younger readers, was this the way you've always known?

Holy shit, I feel old. (space, space)


  1. Yep... Snuck in under the radar, that one. Me? I’m staying with two.

  2. I really feel that this should have merited a big press conference broadcast on all the cable news channels. WTF? How long has this been going on? How could I have missed this? I heard about Pluto not being a planet anymore, for crissakes. And I don't know if I'll even be able to break two decades of habit.

  3. I had heard about it, but wrote is off as nonsense. I think only upon pain of death will I be able to force myself into only one space.

  4. I work in a government job and am responsible for my own correspondence. Somebody pointed me this change in the government style manual about 5 years ago. I think the change has something to do with computer font automatically adjusting to available space, or something like that. On a computer not all spaces are created equal.
    It did not take me that long to get use to the one space only rule. Now when I seem something with 2 spaces it looks weird.

  5. This is news to me. Still keying two spaces...even now.