The red line: one space or two after periods?

Mar 4, 2014

Dear Freelance Editor,

My co-worker, Ted, and I are having an argument – is it one space after a period, or two? We’ve stopped speaking over this issue, but I’d really like to print this out and stick it on his desk. Ted is such a jerk.


Totally A Real Person and Not a Convenient Excuse to Address This Issue (TARP-NCEATI)


I am so glad you asked!

It’s one space. Always, always one space.

Yes, really – virtually all modern typographers and major modern style guides concur.

Once upon a time, your fourth grade teacher may have pounded the two-space rule into your tender little brain, over and over again. That was an unfortunate abuse of power, and you would be justified in writing said teacher an indignant note (if you’re interested in why he/she espoused such a rule, check out the history here or on Slate; without getting into too much detail, it has to do with manual typewriters).

Freelance Editor has wasted countless hours carefully removing extra spaces from clients’ copy; she has often fantasized about what exactly she would say to your fourth grade teacher.

If you are writing a sentence, and you type a period, enter one space. One subtle little click of that space bar. Then stop. Perhaps take a moment to reflect on what you’ve learned. You may now write a new sentence – but whatever you do, NO MORE SPACES.

… please?

This has been a message from a Freelance Editor.

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