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Should you use one or two spaces after a period?

It is a longstanding debate in the typing world – should you put one space or two after a period? Though this might be an inconsequential question to many, in the writing and editing professions this is a highly contentious topic. So just how did the controversy come about?

While putting one space after a period seems most natural, the alternative came to be with the proliferation of monospaced typewriter fonts. Monospaced fonts are ones in which each letter takes up the same amount of horizontal space. This means that the letter i and the letter w would take up the same space in a line of text, even though one is much narrower than the other.

typing rules

Monospaced fonts created a much looser looking line of text that some would even describe as messy. As a result, many typists decided that the extra space after a period was needed to make it easier to visually spot the end of the sentence. Some writers even got into the habit of using three or four spaces after a period for this purpose.

One space after period
two spaces after a period
Two spaces after period

Even though monospaced fonts stopped being used in the 1970s and were never common on computers, the practice of putting two spaces after a period stuck around. As typing teachers throughout the 80s and 90s continued to teach that two spaces after a period was proper form, the trend lasted on for decades.

While today most professionals agree that the extra space is unneeded and even inappropriate, it is still what many people are used to.

Whether you’re on team one space or team two spaces, when using Typing.com, you have the ability to choose which of the two options you would like to use based on your personal preference.

Who ever thought typing could be so controversial?

Leave us a note in the comments to let us know which one you use!


56 thoughts on “Should you use one or two spaces after a period?

    1. I agree, and I found that it is a lot easier to type, along with increasing my typing speed.

      1. State mandated tests count spaces as a character. Some questions have a response text box and set a specific number of characters that can be used for the response.

  1. Old school: Two spaces after period (and colon and semi-colon). See? Learned to type in 1980 – on a manual typewriter. Since my kids learned to “keyboard” and use one space, I have ALWAYS wondered about the reason for the different approaches. This article makes sense and puts to rest my long-standing question. At this point in my life, though, I don’t know if I can change gears !

  2. On the two space team since I began teaching typing in 1984. It reminds you that the next letter is capitalized to begin a sentence. It makes for an easy cadence, “period, space, space, shift”.

  3. I’m a two-spacer because I was taught that way in high school, but when I learned I was taught incorrectly (in my 30’s, lol), I tried out one-spacing. Sometimes I remember to do it, but usually it’s all so second-nature that I don’t know I’m two-spacing. When typing on my phone, I double-tap “space” to create a period, which makes me look like I know what I’m doing since it only leaves one space after the period. 😂

  4. Two spaces. It is always visually more appealing regardless of the font – proportional, monospaced, serif, and sans-serif. As you can see in this comment. Especially when reading outloud unfamiliar content, the double spacing allows the entire sentence to quickly be read into your mental sentence buffer for proper intonation and articulation.

    1. HTML collapses whitespace down to a single space, regardless of how many spaces there are or where they occur. As such, your comment is displayed with a single space between each word and a single space between sentences. It will appear the same regardless of the source content.

      For example, this sentence has three spaces between each word.
      And this sentence has only one space between each word.

      When rendered in HTML, they should both appear with only one space.

  5. I was always taught ever since Junior high school, that there is to be 2 spaces after a period.

    Why society thinks this needs to be changed is beyond me. Just like today they think periods are okay to use. Instead of hypen’s in phone numbers, etc.

    1. Using two spaces can cause problems if used on a web-site. I manage a number of sites and I often have to remove extra spaces in order that the text appears correctly. Many web editors change the extra space to ” ” which stands for non-breaking space.

  6. I was in typing class when it was typing and later in keyboarding class.
    I was taught to leave 2 spaces in typing and the habit carried over. It was
    acceptable in keyboarding so I have, until this program, used the double space.
    It is ingrained in my learning psyche, I am trying out the single space way for this program. Thank you for a good program.

  7. I learned with 2 spaces, taught every year since to type 2 until the last couple of years. I always taught that 2 was what they should do unless typing a webpage or book or magazine. Something that limited space but full reports, resumes and letter 2 looked much better.

    Last year I didn’t teach it at all. I let the kids do what they want. This year now that I read this I’m not sure. I still think 2 on professional letters and reports (unless space is needed) look so good. So maybe I’ll do the same thing. Thanks for this interesting blog.

    1. I have a question about something if you can help and I think this is a good site to use .. I love it its just my first time using it.

  8. Two spaces. I was taught to type in the 90s. I still encourage my students to use two spaces after end punctuation.

  9. I learned two spaces in typing class in the 70s, but switched to one space at some point when teaching typing and keyboarding. The typing books switched over to preferring one space, I believe.

  10. Two spaces help keep sentences from looking like jumbled, run-on sentences, no matter what font you use. Two spaces help to separate ideas and to make reading easier. Two spaces make a document look neater, formal, and “finished”. Format is still important!

  11. I learned 2 spaces and have always taught 2 spaces. The last couple of years I have accepted 1 space from my students, but always explain the difference between their papers and mine. I also make sure they know my preference. (A little incentive to go with 2 spaces never hurts : )

  12. I learned 2 spaces when I was in school, but know that is not standard practice now. So, I have switched to one so that I can teach my students what is acceptable as they prepare to enter the workforce in the future.

  13. Two spaces allows for the teacher to tell the difference between a “mistake”, and an intentional end to the sentence. When typewriters and the original “printers” prior to inkjets and lasers were available. I have tried it both ways and still use 2 spaces in my classes – editing and following the flow of the document is so much easier.

  14. Two spaces allows for the teacher to tell the difference between a “mistake”, and an intentional end to the sentence. When typewriters and the original “printers” prior to inkjets and lasers were available. I have tried it both ways and still use 2 spaces in my classes – editing and following the flow of the document is so much easier.

    1. That’s a good point! Clearly, smartphones are helping the transition from two spaces after a period to one.

  15. I didn’t even know two spaces was a thing until I read this blog. Ironically all the comments that ‘prefer’ two space appear with one space. Since this is a blog for a typing site I’d wonder why two spaces is still being taught. My slowest key combinations are double letters and I imagine that if I typed with double spaces at the end of sentences it would also slow down my typing.
    So to me, two spaces is slower and outdated.

    1. That’s a very good observation. While typing two spaces may not slow you down too significantly (once you’ve gotten the hang of it), it definitely won’t do anything to speed up your typing! We provide teachers with the option to teach two spaces, because as you can see from the comments many still prefer it. That said, it is not our default.

      Also, all of the posts appear with just one space here because HTML automatically eliminates superfluous spaces. Our developers had a chuckle at this thread. 🙂

  16. I must admit, the two-space approach just comes naturally to me. I learned to type in the early 70’s and the thought of changing is not an option.

  17. I use two spaces only. This is the way I learned it also in the 80s and 90s and feel I should continue to do so. However, the history of how this came about is very interesting. Thank you for the excellent information. I love your typing lessons and brief messages.

  18. Although I learned to type in the 70s with 2 spaces after the period, I can give a very good reason for being a champion of single space. Repetitive motion injury. Elimination of keystrokes where possible is beneficial, especially where it is a duplicate motion like the thumb on the space bar.

  19. It is visually more appealing to have two spaces after any type of end punctuation. When it is mono-space, it becomes cluttered and congested. Words are too clustered together and makes it difficult to read. As well, the print appears more professional and presentable. It enables a person to easily read and follow the words on the page. For some people, it provides a breathing space and an opportunity to process while or after they have finished reading the document of print.

  20. Was taught, and have been using, two spaces since the 80’s. Now, as an English teacher and keyboarding instructor, the double space is being passed on. I did hear of a student who graduated who was marked down on a college composition paper for using two spaces after punctuation. So, I often wonder if I’m doing my kids a disservice. Has anyone else heard of students having problems with college papers?

    1. I teach college (keyboarding) and our school has a 1 space standard. As an instructor (who’s true best interest is learning for the student, not grading their efforts), I feel downgrading a student in an English class for that is petty.

  21. I think that 2 spaces is good but if you are on a time limit I use 1. Read the next sentence(2 space). See what I did there(1 space)!

  22. Two spaces is logical. One space indicates that the next letters belong to a new word. Two spaces indicate that the next words belong to a new sentence. Moving to a new line indicates that the next sentences belong to a new paragraph. It’s incremental and makes it easier to scan for information or proofreading.

  23. I learned to use two spaces WAY back in the early ’60s when we were being taught on clatter machines — typewriters. Since I have become a published author, on a very minor scale, I have switched to one when a publisher rejected one of my submissions based on two spaces after a period. Ever since then I have used and taught only one space after end punctuation and have learned to prefer it.

  24. Two spaces make text easier to read for those students with dyslexia. I don’t have dyslexia, but I still find two spaces make reading easier so that is what I ask my students to use when they type research papers or other writing assignments.

  25. I think it’s easier to read text that has two spaces after a period. But I talked with a publisher, and they wanted manuscripts to be submitted with only one space after a period. I was told it was so words would look better when the text was justified (instead of just left-aligned like this text box is). That makes sense. Still, for me, when reading sentences, it’s a lot easier for me to read text with two spaces after the period.

  26. I was taught to use two spaces between sentences back in the day when typewriters were the norm. Consequently, like another post on here, I promote the two space method to encourage capitalisation at the beginning of a new sentence. However, I don’t mark my students down if they use only one space – as long as they use capitalisation correctly.

  27. My son’s teachers actually count off now if they use 2 spaces! I’d have to just type and then do a find/replace cause my fingers simply won’t do one space after all these years!

  28. I was recently at a resume writing session, and the speaker said that when you use a double space after a period in your cover letter it dates you – and they know they are not from the younger crowd. They may file away your application before even meeting you.

  29. We used the typewriters back in the 80’s, and the standard practice was to use two spaces after a period and it looked good. Recently, with the use of computers in typing, I think one space after a period is enough.

  30. Two spaces is definitely a bit of a challenge. It sounds weird and nearly makes me giggle so I loose concentration. But it does look better for monospace fonts.

  31. Throughout my years of learning keyboarding on a French typewriter in the 70s then relocating to the U.S. and learning to type on an English keyboard and having earned a P.C. specialist certification, I taught my students to use one space in their documents. However, when I type a French document, the expectation is to have 2 spaces after the period.

  32. I too learned to type on a typewriter. Now that I use a computer I use (and teach) one space, unless using a monospace font (which is never).

  33. I have used two, and taught two, however, I know in college, they teach one space for APA format. So, I think this semester, I will teach just one.

  34. This article mentions that it is possible to choose to use one or two spaces within the curriculum. How can I do that? I haven’t seen it anywhere.

    1. Hi – I’m so sorry. This article was written a while ago, and that functionality has since been removed.

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