Thursday, March 23, 2017

One Space Or Two?

I shared an article on facebook regarding the argument over whether to use one or two spaces after a period (or question mark or exclamation mark). And yes, there does seem to be an argument over this.

There are numerous people who claim it was the way they were taught and that's what they will do. Even some English teachers who learned to use two spaces years ago insist upon teaching it that way to students of today. One person on my facebook page commented Who cares? I think those in the writing world do care. Or should.

Take a look at the article giving reasons for using one space. And yet another. If you google the topic, you'll find a slew of articles addressing the one space or two subject.

We humans don't like change but change we must or the world will move on without us. Back in 1997, I was still writing on an electric typewriter. I decided that it was time to get a computer and join the technology movement. I knew nothing at all about using a computer but I learned through trial and error.

Later, I read an article an editor had written begging writers who submitted to use only one space after the end of a sentence. What? That was my response because my typing teacher had drilled the two spaces rule into her students. Face it, we are definitely creatures of habit and it's not easy to break a long-instilled one.

Because I didn't want my submissions to be cast aside by not following the guidelines, I broke the habit. Yes, I had to think consciously each time I came to the end of a sentence for awhile. Finally, using one space became my new habit.

I will honestly say that I have not read guidelines for submission that threaten writers who use two spaces but I have seen guidelines that recommend using a certain style that is used in something like the Chicago Manual or another one.

It may seem a small thing but sometimes it's the little things that count in life. Are you willing to put your submissions in jeopardy because you stubbornly cling to your preferred method?


  1. I changed my mind on this subject when I realized it is all a question of automatic spacing when using computers. If one double spaces, the computer formatting leaves too much space between sentences when it aligns margins. It has been difficult to get used to, and I still often double space when I shouldn't. But I surely don't want to go back to manual typewriters and carbon copies.