One space or two?

I sometimes find myself angsting about minutiae.  Today, it is the humble space bar.  How many times do I strike it between sentences?

I’m not old enough to have ever used a typewriter, except for that period in high school when I convinced my mom that a typewriter would help get my creative writing juices flowing better than the computer.  She lovingly found a beautiful electric typewriter for me at a garage sale, cleaned it, and presented it to me.  Initially, I was ecstatic.  Now I could be a real writer!

Then the realities of actually working with a typewriter set in.  I hadn’t realized before how much computers actually did for me.  Simple things like line spacing became a nightmare.  I am thankful for my electronic helpers these days.

Still, when and why did I begin putting two spaces between sentences?  It is a deeply ingrained habit, one that I didn’t think much of until recently when I started seeing some posts from friends on facebook about the issue.  I began to worry.  Does my double-space make me less cool?  I became convinced that people were reading my work and mocking the spacing.  I could practically hear the whispers and giggles!

I tried to break the habit, but that only made things worse.  Some sentences got a single space while others received the double space.  What to do, what to do?  Would anyone take my writing seriously with the grotesque double-space leering up at them?

In the end, I am still unsure of how to approach the ends of my sentences.  Habit and muscle memory dictates the double space.  Yet correct grammar informs me that a single space is the only correct ending to a sentence.  Perhaps the most important thing is consistency.  Double or single, I should probably pick one and roll with it.

So how about you?  Do you double- or single-space?

6 thoughts on “One space or two?

  1. I went all through graduate school being a double spacer. When I submitted my dissertation, my advisor (who had already read multiple drafts of that document as well as my papers for years) requested I make all of them a single space. 170 pages. He never gave me a reason, and I had no choice but to make the edits. I have clearly reverted to the double space. Best I can tell, it comes down to personal preference and whatever style guide you are using. I agree with you- whatever you choose, just be consistent!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Single space thank you very much. There has been way too many grammatical rules to follow in the last few years while finally finishing my degree, such as three distinct and required types of citations and reference lists for various courses. Although, my memory tells me (and its faulty at best) that at some point I learned something about double spacing between sentences. However, social sciences note 1 space only so, ya know, being a social science major and wanting to be credible and all…


  3. I’m uncertain of the truth of this so don’t quote me please. I think I heard that double spacing after sentences originated when all we had were typewriters. The advent of newer fonts and auto spacing between characters (or some techno-babble like that) led to the single space convention. I don’t really think there’s a right or wrong way. At least until the legal secretary in me proofs a pleading with both single and double spacing! Then I must pick one darn it. 😉


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