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I’m not sure if it’s a new thing or that I just didn’t notice it before, but I’m noticing a lot of double spacing after periods (full-stops) lately.

Here’s a comment I found on reddit for example:

My dad had a pet raccoon too!   (Sort of, it was an outdoor raccoon that he was very friendly with and fed), it was when he was a kid (like 16).   His favorite story is one time he took this girl out to get ice cream and the raccoon followed them there.   He knew they were being followed but she didn't.   They got some ice cream and sat down and she noticed it and he said "Bet you a kiss I can get that raccoon to come over and lick my ice cream and let me pet her."   Which she laughed at and accepted.   He stuck out the ice cream and it came running over and jumped on the table and I guess she kind of freaked out.

I have even edited posts on other @SE sites to removing double spacing after the periods.

Is double spacing after a period now a thing?

  • 3
    Using more space between sentences than between words in a sentence has been around since before the Internet. Related question: How many spaces should come after a period/full stop? – herisson Apr 4 at 10:46
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    The double-spacing isn't going to show in HTML unless you use multiple   (non-breaking space) entities. – Weather Vane Apr 4 at 11:08
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    This has been a "thing" for over 50 years. I learned this when I took a typing class ca 1962. (And if you edit my posts to remove double spaces I'm gonna be pist.) – Hot Licks Apr 4 at 12:22
  • @herisson Isn't this a duplicate? Shouldn't OP re-activate the thread you mention? – Edwin Ashworth Apr 4 at 14:44
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Until the early twentieth century, guidelines were numerous and often contradictory. Typesetters often used the large ‘em-quad’ space (traditionally the width of a capital ‘M’) after a period, and the smaller ‘en-quad’ (the width of a capital ‘N’) after all other punctuation. The use of particular letter widths as standards was necessary because most printed material used 'proportional spacing', that is, not all letters were the same width. When typewriters arrived in the 1860s, the convention was adapted so that there was one space between words, and two spaces between sentences. Most typewriters have always produced text that is 'monospaced', that is, all characters (and spaces) are the same width. By about 1950, most style guides advised using only one space between sentences. This is still the case today; you can find this in the style guides of The Economist or the Guardian, and the Chicago Manual of Style. To summarise: the width of white space to add after a period is a matter of style.

One space or two after a full stop?

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  • I was taught to double space after a period in typewriting class in the 1980's, so this advice certainly wasn't gone by the 1950's. But of course if you submitted a typewritten manuscript for publication, the typesetter wouldn't reproduce those double spaces when setting the type in a proportional font. – The Photon Apr 4 at 16:53

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