At the end of a sentence we place a full stop (or other punctuation). Do we NEED a space after the stop to begin the new sentence? I have been told it is correct grammar to not use a space after the full stop.

  • 1
    Please include the research you've done. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. / Punctuation and grammar are always regarded as disjunct on ELU (ie 'grammar' should read 'punctuation' here.) – Edwin Ashworth Jun 16 '17 at 8:29
  • 1
    Strictly, the question deals neither with grammar nor punctuation but with typography. This is dealt with briefly in my answer below, and at much greater length in the linked Possibly Duplicate Question thread. The length of that thread, and the detail contained therein, suggests that the question raised here, while possibly a duplicate of the earlier one, is singularly non-trivial. – Robin Hamilton Jun 16 '17 at 9:28
  • In terms of legibility, failing to use a space after a period causes readers significant problems. But, as Robin says, this is an issue of formatting, not syntax – Hot Licks Jun 16 '17 at 11:21

The space after the full stop is mandatory.

There is, however, a divergence as to whether one or two spaces should be used in this context. There doesn't seem to be any consensus on this issue, and it is more a matter of formatting than (strictly) punctuation.

For a much fuller answer to this question, see How many spaces should come after a period/full stop?

  • Thanks for the quick reply. Has that always (relatively) been the case? Was it this way in the 1950's and 60's? – Paul.J Jun 16 '17 at 5:45
  • It's been the case as far back as I can remember. And it's two spaces after the period. – Roger Sinasohn Jun 16 '17 at 5:51
  • The number of spaces followed by a punctuation is a matter of readability. No hard and fast rules on this. – Codeformer Jun 16 '17 at 5:58
  • 1
    When I was taught typing ca 1965, the "rule" was two spaces after a period (or a colon). This of course was on a standard mechanical typewriter without any sort of variable spacing. – Hot Licks Jun 16 '17 at 11:20
  • 1
    @Robin Hamilton since you are self-admittedly fascinated to see the 2 upvotes and 2 downvotes to this answer within 4 hours,I might take the liberty of speculating on the possible reasons: the 2 upvotes reflect 2 members' agreement that yours is indeed a good answer and undoubtedly the correct one, as in, who doesn't know that we need a space after a full stop?! I personally completely agree it is a matter of custom and consistency, especially on computers. One downvoter possibly objects to your use of the word 'mandatory' and the other wants to see your answer supported by a citation! – English Student Jun 16 '17 at 16:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.