Tech changes drive typing changes; why one space must follow a period, not two

Tell me you don’t leave two spaces after a period. Because that, as they say, is over.

I can’t remember exactly when I switched – something about going from typewriters to computers. I was recently wondering why we made the change.

Wouldn’t you know there are a few theories out there?

Here’s the one I like best:

The characters on typewriters all took up the same amount of space across – known as monospaced type. This made the resulting text look unevenly spaced and harder to notice a period indicating a new sentence was about to begin. So was born the practice of putting two spaces after a period. It made the document easier to read.

My early Smith Corona on which I used two spaces post period

My early Smith Corona on which I used two spaces post period

As typography advanced and typewriters gave way to electric typewriters, word processors and computers, more and sleeker fonts appeared. Most of the newer fonts use proportional type. The Courier font is one exception – as it emulates the typewriter look.

So now, the extra space just confuses things – in fact it may make text harder to read.

In my view one space looks better. And hey, it saves time – which we can use instead to sleep, which we’re meant to do more of anyway.

As you contemplate deep thoughts in the coming summer months, why not consider the one-space two-space evolution?


 

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