Why oh why two spaces after a period?

1 minute read

For the longest time, I was just plainly annoyed at people that were putting two spaces after a period. I thought it was one of those English thing. Being French myself, I learned slightly different stylistic approaches ; for example we put a non breakable space between the last word of a sentence and exclamation points or question marks. 🤷. But there is a story behind the double space usage.

Hence my sentence.  Look how I sneaked two spaces.

Today, I saw one more double space after a period in a document I reviewed and that was the last straw for me. Why some do people do it “wrong” consistently? I had to know!

Back in typewriter time fonts were just monospaced. And separation between sentences were not particularly visually obvious. So as a hack, people started to add two spaces between a period and the first letter of the next sentence.

a typewriter

Now, since then, something called the personal computer and proportional fonts have been invented, visually separating sentences is just fine now with a single space, especially on your 100” triple retina displays. So reading a document with double space is a possible sign that the person that wrote it has written on a typewriter in the past and stuck with the habit.

When you think about it, it’s a hack like using several spaces for indentation instead of using tab… I’m going to leave now and ironically argue with myself as I am a space person.