Re: using 1 or 2 spaces after a period

Subject: Re: using 1 or 2 spaces after a period
From: "Williams, Diane (contractor)" <Williams_Diane -at- DOTE -dot- OSD -dot- MIL>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 1997 11:46:20 -0400

Uh oh! Here we go again! Spacing between sentences in self-produced
documents is a mostly a matter of personal preference. Those who like
two spaces say it's easier to read. I disagree. I use one space 'cos
it's easier to fix globally.

If you're submitting text to be printed by an outside printer, you
should use only one space. As a former typesetter, I was taught to use
one space. Magazines, books and newspapers all use just one space. So if
you want your documents to have the professional look, use one space--
especially when using proportional fonts in a fully justified format.

The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage (1994) is
one of the few guides that says to use only space between sentences (and
after colons) when submitting a ms. on disk for publishing (p. 699): "Do
not put two spaces after periods. Only one space should be used when the
final copy will be printed in a proportionally spaced typeface or will
be converted to desktop publishing (which always uses proportional

I can't find it in the 14th ed. but the 13th ed. of the Chicago Manual
of Style calls for one "word" space after colons and between sentences.
Most other style manuals I have read don't address between-sentence

Some references, such as Gregg, refer to using two spaces between
sentences when "typing" manuscripts that are to be typeset by a printer.
But most folks submit disks or e-mail manuscripts to their printers if
they don't DTP the ms. themselves. Then the printer would strip out all
double spaces anyway!

So, I recommend one space and NYPL is the only reference I've seen that
specifically calls for it.


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