How many spaces after a full stop? One

Many people like to hit the space bar twice after a full stop and if you’re one of these people, you should incorporate one backspace into your routine before typing the next sentence.

Double spacing is a leftover habit from the typewriter era but one that is now redundant. On the majority of typewriters each character was the same width and it was felt at the time that a single space didn’t help to set apart new sentences. The double space was introduced with the idea that it would make typed documents easier to read.

With the introduction of computers and the development of word processing programmes, this practise is now redundant. Many programmes, such as Microsoft’s Word, have letters of proportional sizes — meaning the I is a lot thinner than the O, for instance — and some will even produce a bigger space naturally after a full stop.

So if you’re not sure whether you should put one or two spaces after your full stops (and any other punctuation that ends a sentence), go for a single space. Unless you’re viewing this on your typewriter, of course.

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One Response to How many spaces after a full stop? One

  1. You can always tell if someone is an “older” writer by those telltale two spaces after a full stop! I grew up in the typewriter generation and that two-space phenomenon was a hard habit to break. Useful to know why it was, though – thanks!

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