Two Spaces

Posted by Benjamin Hale in blog | March 1, 2015

So, apparently, this whole paragraph is wrong.  What I had learned throughout my childhood, growing up with computers, is all wrong.  The direction that was given to me as a child, then emphasized through my adolescence, and used all the time in correspondence and digital communication, is erroneous.  That is right, as you can see in this entire paragraph, I have placed two spaces after each sentence.  And, that is wrong!

The rest of this post will be a bit of a challenge for me, as I will do my best to only hit that spacebar one time after each sentence. And, it is a real challenge. When I learned to type, or “touch type” as it was called in the 90s, it was hammered into my head that after each period, there would be two spaces. I never questioned this, just accepted that this is how I was supposed to type. We were just kids, and we followed directions. After all, when we followed the directions of putting the floppy disk in the computer and flipping the power switch, that little green screen computer came on, so why wouldn’t we put two spaces after that period?

And, what has made this habit worse, as I have grown up with technology, is that when smartphones started to take over, they added an incredible shortcut. When you pressed the spacebar twice at the end of a sentence, it automatically added the period and the assumed correct number of spaces afterwards.

I have since discovered that this shortcut does only place one space after the keyboard, but my behavior was the same. Finish a sentence – press space twice.

Since much of my time is spent punching code now, instead of writing sentences, I have not found this to be much of an issue. Most people do not count the spaces after periods in email communication. But, the more I write with the intent to publish, I know I can no longer rely on good old find and replace to adjust for my now “bad habit.”

Instead, I have begun the process of retraining myself to only type one space for each sentence. I am telling myself, “one period, one space.” For now, it is a conscious effort, and will certainly slow down my writing. But, over time, it will become the norm, and I can go back to typing with reckless abandon. Until then, I just hope all the editors to my stories are a bit patient as I rewire my thumbs.