The deadly two-space debate…


I read a really interesting post the other day – yes it was posted awhile ago but I’m old and it takes me longer to get to the three billion things I have to read a day – about the practice of putting two spaces after a period.  See, right there, I did it just now.  Does this annoy you?  Well for this 40-something blogger it sure annoyed her, which I respect.  But she went too far in the eyes of some readers and attributed it to people over 40.  I agree with her; people over 40 generally learned to type on a typewriter and we were told that you always put two spaces after a terminating punctuation mark.  Why?  I know there are a number of reasons why but when I was seven or eight and learning how to type I did not need to know why, I simply knew that that was what one did.  Her message was so offense to some that they vilified her and accused her of proliferating age discrimination.  Really?  If I pointed out that only people born before 1940 would likely remember Harry Truman as President would that mean that I’m picking on the youth deficient?

Another blogger wrote this manifesto on the subject.  I’m not sure why they were so vehemently against two spaces but in the opening line their premise was that the practice is “…inarguably wrong…”  Well I DO take exception to that.  It is in fact inarguably acceptable – at least according to the folks that argue these things – namely the publishers of the APA and MLA style guides.  According to APA you should use two spaces after a period to improve readability when authoring scholarly papers and other such manuscripts.  The MLA style guide in more ambivalent on the subject.  They point out that contemporary publishing services require a single space when submitting content for print but that it is entirely up to the author as a matter of preference rather than specification.

At the end of the day I feel that this “issue” falls somewhere around #4,511 on my current top #50 things to worry about.  I’m going to continue to use two spaces at the end of my sentences.  If you don’t like it, I respect that.  For heaven’s sake, if you want to disagree with me PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE argue from an informed position.  Nothing drives me crazier than people putting forth their opinions as fact-based arguments.