Do you put one space after a sentence, or two?
I know that the two space rule came from the days of typewriters, but it's just an awful habit to break. My fingers push the double spacebar without thinking. For publishing purposes, should manuscripts use one or two spaces?
Either is acceptable, or so I was told. I still use the two spaces out of habit, but I know on ebooks either one can be done.
Both the updated Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style direct writers to always use a single space after a period. Computer fonts are proportionately spaced, so the second space is no longer needed. However, I’m just like the rest of you who learned on a typewriter. It’s hard to make the switch, and I catch myself double-spacing, then backing up to delete the extra space.
WRITER’S DIGEST advises the one-space-after-a-sentence rule is not only widely accepted, it’s now expected, and writers are encouraged to switch.
Yet, I've read opposing views about this issue (or 'non-issue') in writers' blogs. Finished copy in a magazine or traditionally published book will have one space, but a publication's editor won't reject your manuscript if you still use two.
Eventually, we will all probably follow the one-space trend and forget what the fuss was about!
That is interesting and informative-- especially if AP and WD say it. I still think two looks better, but I will try to adapt. (Rats!. I did it again.)
Thank you, that was very helpful. Great sources sited.
The foolproof thing to do is to follow each publisher's submission guidelines using the style guide they prefer you to use.
I have reduced from the standard of deux ("duh") to "there can only be one!"
I still use the two space rule, being I am from the days of the typewriters. And, yes, it is a terrible habit to try to break. I read recently that there should only be one space now, but I just cannot seem to break that old habit. I hope it is acceptable either way.
I've always been taught two spaces and I was taught on computers. I think two looks much better than one... Why switch?!
Find out the preference of each publisher you send your work to. If they want it printed out in landscape format in wingdings with images of cat butts instead of spaces, make it so.
Go to the publisher's webpage and read through the submission guidelines. These days, most include a link to the style guide they prefer you to adhere to. Follow it religiously and not just Christmas and Easter religiously, but going-to-seminary religiously. Anything you can do to make the editor notice only your writing and not the style of the manuscript is a good thing.
I keep the style guide open right on my desktop when I'm double-checking a manuscript. I find that it is vital when I'm writing to more than one style guide in a single day.
On a typewriter (I know, ancient history), it was proper to put two spaces after a sentence. With a word processing application, one is sufficient because kerning and tracking is part of the application. Those who use two spaces in a word processed document display a typewriter background.
I don't see why the two-space rule shouldn't continue on computers. Double-spacing at the end of a sentence can help clarify that the sentence does indeed end if the last word is an abbreviation that takes a period, like etc. or M.D.
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