Period Space Space

Writing is how I fill much of my time whether with stories or e-mails or the occasional blog essay. I try my best to keep in mind all the various rules for punctuation and format. However, I just typed two spaces after that period. Sigh. One space following a period has always been the proper way, but the monospaced typefaces used by typewriters required two for clarity. Thus, a portion of our population learned to type incorrectly. This included my keyboarding teacher in high school and whoever programmed the software she used for our class. Two spaces after a period was drilled into me. I can’t stop double-tapping that space bar even when I’m thinking about it.

I get irritated every time my phone edits out the extra space from my texts. This blog post will automatically leave out the extra space when I post it. The problem I have with only one space is that it actually makes text slightly harder for to read. I think I may have learned to recognize the spacing rather than the punctuation mark itself. I tend to give the same weight to a period that I would a comma because the spacing is the same. Sentences tend to run together, forcing me to slow down to avoid confusion. I wonder if there’s a measurable difference between people who learn to type with one space following periods and colons versus two (using proportional fonts). I definitely have an easier time editing my own writing when sentences are well separated. Oh, I’ll go ahead and conform to the proper one-space format when I polish up a finished piece, but I don’t have to like it.

Fortunately, the find & replace function in my word processor allows me to instantly replace every two-space with a single space. I never would have thought to use it for non-words until now. It also works for all that tabbing I was taught to do at the beginning of each paragraph (which is also wrong).

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