How Many Spaces After the Period?

space-after-a-periodHow Many Spaces After the Period? by Lee Miller

And the answer is….ONE. While some may see this as just a stylistic opinion, it is the rule and if this is news to you, the reason may surprise you. Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, says it best so here is an excerpt from her blog on the matter:

Most typewriter fonts are what are called monospaced fonts. That means every character takes up the same amount of space. An “i” takes up as much space as an “m,” for example. When using monospaced font, where everything is the same width, it makes sense to type two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence to create a visual break. For that reason, people who learned to type on a typewriter were taught to put two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence.

But when you’re typing on a computer, most fonts are proportional fonts, which means that characters are different widths. An “i” is more narrow than an “m,” for example, and putting extra space between sentences doesn’t do anything to improve readability.

Some computer font styles do space out letters as a typewriter does. The most common ones are:

  • Courier New
  • Lucida Console
  • Consolas
  • Lucida

However, unless you are typing on an old-fashioned typewriter, one space after the period is the standard now. I can attest that it is a hard habit to break, but the times they are a changin’. Start practicing now and you will get the hang of it in no time!


For more from Lee Miller go here.

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