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Closeup of manual typewriter keys.
My life is so perfect that today, I got to ranting on Twitter about people still using double spacing after periods. As is always the case when I do that, people pushed back, claiming that TWO spaces was the correct way, and that they hadn't gotten the memo about the rule change.

But they are wrong. It's one space.

Every modern typographer agrees on the one-space rule. It's one of the canonical rules of the profession, in the same way that waiters know that the salad fork goes to the left of the dinner fork and fashion designers know to put men's shirt buttons on the right and women's on the left. Every major style guide—including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style—prescribes a single space after a period. (The Publications Manual of the American Psychological Association, used widely in the social sciences, allows for two spaces in draft manuscripts but recommends one space in published work.)
Indeed, the two-space rule was a temporary quirk of history that refuses to become history:
Most ordinary people would know the one-space rule, too, if it weren't for a quirk of history. In the middle of the last century, a now-outmoded technology—the manual typewriter—invaded the American workplace. To accommodate that machine's shortcomings, everyone began to type wrong. And even though we no longer use typewriters, we all still type like we do.
So yeah, one space. Unless you are on a monospace manual typewriter.

Originally posted to kos on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 02:11 PM PST.

Also republished by Cranky Grammarians.

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