Two space or not two space?

This post is mostly for the comments section. We recently had a debate amongst the PO life bloggers and we’d like people to weigh in to help us resolve our quarrel. The question at hand was whether or not it is correct to use one space following the end of a sentence, or to use two spaces. For example, which is correct:

“. The quick brown fox…”

or

“.  The quick brown fox…”?

The argument arose because some of the bloggers (Eli) thought that consistency was absolutely paramount in this area. I’d like to state that from the beginning I maintained this was easily the most trivial and idiotic argument we at the PO Life have ever had. It is important to point out, however, that while you may agree with me, the argument did, in fact, command an entire day’s worth of our time and energy. So I ask you all to please weigh in. Is one or two spaces grammatically correct? How about in professional settings? Finally, did anyone even notice that I alternated between one and two spaces throughout this post?

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16 comments

  1. Page limit

    If I am writing a HS/College essay which has a required # of pages, I am 2-spacing every time, and making those spaces size 18 font.

  2. divurr

    Html itself ignores more than a single space between characters. In some cases when using a What You See Is What You Get (wysiwyg) editor to write blogs, etc. they are set to allow for the second space by implementing a space and then using an html entity ( ) to add the second space. The problem with that is that dependent on the font, the width of a space vs an   space can be different. All of that being said, in most cases, at least when dealing with the web, a single space is probably better. When it comes to print materials, dependent on the font, go with the double space.

  3. divurr

    Damnit, my code didn’t come through, what’s supposed to appear within that empty set of parenthesis is  .

  4. Clifford

    Who cares? Can we debate about which animal we’d rather try to fight, an angry full grown chimpanzee or a Great White? Wait… A debate implies both sides have some sort of cogent argument.

  5. Eddy Fletcher

    great white and here’s why:  1) fins vs opposable thumbs = zero chance of having your face ripped off.. sure you could loose your entire head but that is easily better than face ripping.  2) the great white is not angry.  you are immediate disadvantaged when going up against an angry beast. 3) I’m a better swimmer 4) much cooler way to die.  Getting killed by a chimp has a very depressing, “why did it come to this” feel to it.  Getting eaten by a great white is pretty great and a pretty great way to go out.

    • Clifford

      Alright, here is my problem with your overall reasoning. I think it’s basically predicated on you being killed. I’m saying, I want to fight the animal I have the best overall chance of escaping/ fending off. I think if I get a good hard kick to the nuts on Curious George, he might back the fuck off, but Jaws- even if I punch him right in his sensitive ass nose, I bet he comes back with those dead lifeless eyes to shear through my pelvis like a hot knife through butter.

      • Alan

        I completely agree with Cliff. This was the conclusion we came to when the original debate came up. You have a better chance of living against a chimp.

        Also, both animals are intending to hurt/kill you in the scenario.

        I have no defense against your “cooler way to die” point, Eddy — so true.

  6. Amy

    As a Technical Writer by profession (yes you can go ahead and laugh, and yes it is a real job), I’m constantly faced with the urge to want to punch people in the face who use double space. ONE SPACERS UNITE!

  7. Alan

    Double spacing is from the era of typewriters and we no longer need to do it. If you double space, you either grew up using typewriters or were taught by someone who didn’t get with the times.

  8. Elijah

    Wow, I showed up late to the party on this one. I’d like to make a few points:

    1. I had pretty much 0 input on the spacing issue. My comments towards consistency were aimed mostly at quality and reader understanding related issues like spelling and the use of footnotes.

    2. I have historically been a double spacer but have no allegiance to the practice. I’ve actually started singe spacing since our discussion.

    3. If we’re in a jungle environment where I can find tools to my advantage, I’d rather go against the chimp. If we’re in an octagon-style bare knuckle cage match, I’d probably lean towards Eddy’s great white argument. I don’t see much realistic chance of winning either way in that scenario. I’d rather die in a relatively quick torn-to-shreds fashion than have an enormous ape tear out my arms wookie style and beat me to death with them.

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