Automatic single spaces between sentences

Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:08 AM
LostKause's avatar

I have always typed a double space between sentences everywhere I type things. I have noticed that when I double space between sentences here on CoasterBuzz, it posts with a single space.

Is this AP style? If so, how long has it been AP style? I assume that the site automatically does this to save hard drive space on the CoasterBuzz server thingie. Is that correct?

On iOS, typing a double space automatically brings up a period.

I'm not complaining. It's just an observation.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:47 AM
birdhombre's avatar

Web browsers have always done that anyway, so a double space will become a single on any web page unless it's overridden intentionally. The double space was a convention of the typewriter age because all the characters were of equal width; putting 2 spaces after a period helped visually separate sentences.

Now that we have computers with proportional width fonts (unless you're using Courier), one space is fine... which is actually how professionally printed pieces were being done all along. :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013 12:50 AM
rollergator's avatar

Some of us are old and learned on typewriters.

Now kindly step off my lawn.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:51 AM
bjames's avatar

LostKause said:

I have always typed a double space between sentences everywhere I type things.


Is it just one of those things? Back when I was in high school they taught us to type four spaces when starting a new paragraph, but when I was in college I would get markups from professors telling me this was too far indented. Word automatically indents for you nowadays, apparently.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:01 AM
Vater's avatar

I've always typed two spaces between sentences, too. Never knew the exact reason for it until bird explained it above, but it's such a habit I'll probably type that way the rest of my life. Fascinating.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:15 AM
birdhombre's avatar

Using spaces at the beginning of a paragraph (usually 4 or 5) is another typewriter thing, partly because many didn't have a tab key and because the text usually went all the way across an 8.5" wide page. That way it was easier to tell where a new paragraph started.

It somewhat depends on the "house style" of a publication, but the general rule is to either have extra space between paragraphs OR indent one em space, which is usually about 2 regular spaces. The most recent versions of Word now put extra space between paragraphs by default, so you no longer need to use double returns. Same with the CoasterBuzz post editor. :)

If anyone is interested in such things, this is one of the first books we read in my college graphic design classes. It's cheap and a quick read (and despite the title, it mostly applies to PCs too).

Last edited by birdhombre, Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:16 AM
Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:30 AM

This is so interesting. I'm not the best typist, I look at the key board to this day and envy those who don't have to. The muscle memory seems to be there, but for some reason I don't trust it. Plus, I use a keyboard here on my iPad that I can't feel, so maybe that's it.

I'm also a lifelong, habitual double spacer, and like the fact that it automatically drops in the period.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:04 PM
LostKause's avatar

I never ever indent my paragraphs, no matter what I am doing. Nope. I know it's a thing people do, but it seems so unnecessary when you can just add space between your paragraphs.

This conversation reminds me of my online buddies recently teaching me why I should put the period inside the quotation marks. I was taught differently about some things. I try to do it the "right" way now, but sometimes I slip up still.

I often encountered questions like this when I worked for the newspaper.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:06 PM
Jeff's avatar

Yeah, kids today, who never typed on a typewriter, wouldn't even know about double spaces between sentences. And as someone else mentioned, the reason it's an obsolete practice is that proportional font spacing makes it unnecessary. Also correct, HTML will not render multiple spaces as multiple spaces.

So basically, if you do two spaces, you're doing it wrong in the modern context of the Internets, or even any word processing application.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:21 PM

Yeah, LostKause, if you look at the page source, (line 155) it shows you did use double spaces at the end of your sentences originally.

Now that I look at it, I can tell whether all of you did or did not use double spaces. I feel powerful.

(Here's how to view page source: )

Last edited by Tyler Boes, Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:27 PM
Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:50 PM
rollergator's avatar

I'm suddenly less concerned about how much the NSA knows about me...hmmm.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:17 PM

I'm a recovering double-spacer myself. Sometimes I find myself slipping into the mode on accident. And then I just feel really old.

My author website:

Thursday, September 24, 2015 10:46 AM
rollergator's avatar

Reopening a topic is pretty rare for me, but thanks to the GENIUS that is Berkeley Breathed, I am now...

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Thursday, September 24, 2015 11:00 AM
Thabto's avatar

I still double space after sentences. That's how I was taught in my computer classes in the late 90's. I'm still in the habit of it.


Friday, September 25, 2015 12:07 AM
LostKause's avatar

You can't teach an old dog new tricks.

Monday, October 5, 2015 9:32 PM

I feel that a double space after a sentence helps a lot in keeping written thoughts separated when reading quickly.

Monday, October 5, 2015 10:42 PM
Jeff's avatar

Well unless you can change the fonts themselves or the HTML standards, it's never going to happen. So there is that. :)

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Tuesday, October 6, 2015 8:55 AM
matt.'s avatar

Jeff said:

Yeah, kids today, who never typed on a typewriter, wouldn't even know about double spaces between sentences.

Actually, you'd be surprised.

Because many people learn typing conventions from, well, old people, the double space thing is still pretty prevalent. I have a new hire at my work who does it and she's 22. I've seen younger folks do it, too.

The good news is that it's actually not that hard of a habit to break. It may seem impossible at first but with a little self-discipline I'm sure even the most hardened double spacers can do it.

Even MORE good news. In applications like MS Word it's easy to do a "find and replace" on double spaces even if you're not able to break the habit. It takes all of 30 seconds.


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