Spaced Out


I know I’ve done more than my fair share of complaining about Comic Sans (whine 1, complaint 2 and angry zealotry), as Purplekindofgirl rightly points out.

However, there is a typographical issue that irks me even more than CS. Whenever I see it, I clench my jaw and flair my nostrils. I usually don’t complain about it aloud because I know it’s a holdover from ancient times when people used an instrument called a typewriter…the perp is doing it innocently enough. Instead, I seethe inside and correct it surreptitiously when I can.

What is this horrible depravity? Double spaces. That’s right. I’m going to give myself a heart attack over people who put double spaces after periods. Hey, we all have our things, some more life threatening that others.

At least I’m not alone in my anger. Farhad Manjoo, from Slate, however, writes a much better article about it.

So, what’s your “thing?”


7 thoughts on “Spaced Out

  1. Manjoo is only half-right. You should use only one space, but a good typesetting program will typically expand that space a little automatically in order to provide some visual separation between the sentences. Furthermore, such programs usually have an override to be used after periods that end abbreviations or titles, such as Mr. Esposito, which should *not* have extra space inserted or should even be shrunk a bit. Microsoft Word is not a good typesetter and may look better with two spaces, as may plain text documents with monospaced fonts. In HTML documents, multiple spaces are collapsed into one space (without clever tricks) so there you usually don’t have the option. For example, I wrote this entire post using two spaces after each period, except for the two occurrences of Mr. Esposito. But you would never know it.


    • Here, I can’t see two spaces, but when WordPress emailed me your comment, I could see the double spaces in my email program.

      It’s a widely known fact that no one says “Mr. Espostio”…it is always “Javier Esposito.”

      Thanks for stopping by Rick.

  2. You’re not the only author of an anti-double spacing rant I’ve seen recently. I confess I am guilty of this… but largely because when I was first learning to type (on a word processor), they told us to put in those double spaces, and now it’s a tough habit to break. I also don’t notice when other people include double spaces in their writing.

    Just for you, however, I have tried not to put any double spaces between my sentences in this comment. 😉

    • I know, I remember typing class in middle school. Half the class used electric typewriters and the other half used computer. I had to use a typewriter.

      I think what annoys me most is that people that don’t seem to care about grammar rules are the most unyielding when it comes to double spaces. Present company excluded, of course.

      Do I get points for knowing I’m petty when I’m being petty?

  3. I remember using two spaces when first using computers to write reports, and then in middle school typing class (on a type writer! The next year they got computers.)

    What I don’t remember is when I stopped using two spaces. I guess it was in high school. By the time I left college, at least, I was firmly in the one space camp. Could have to do with growth of email usage. As we started to use email more and more, expecting correspondence to happen more and more quickly, it simply took too long to double-space.

    I agree with you. My reaction may not be as pronounced, but I agree. Generally, I just make assumptions about a person’s age and computer-literacy. Not always a good a thing.

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