July 3, 2012


I think it’s time that I fess up. Come clean. Bare my soul and throw open the door to the closet that holds my deepest, darkest skeletons.

Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. Not once, not twice, but daily, multiple times a day, often up to six or seven times in just one minute. So many of you think well of me, yet I keep this shame hidden deep within my breast. I cannot keep it a secret any longer, for like the heart beating below the floorboards, my sin will surely make itself known.

I put two spaces after a period.

I do. I really do. I know I shouldn’t. I know that Current Usage has declared it verboten, but I can’t stop myself. Every time I poke down one of those little dots, my right thumb automatically does a quick double-bang on the space bar. When I try to control it, all those extra, unused spaces back up, clog my thought process, until I’m hopelessly blocked and my prose requires triple bypass surgery.

I’ve tried time after time to quit, but I just can’t handle the withdrawal. I need my fix of double spaces.

How can something so wrong feel so, so right?

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  • Reply Karen July 3, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    This is so hard. I learned it at my high school English teacher’s knee. I drank it in with the luke warm Earl Grey tea he served with too much honey. It is forever in my blood. And I have to make it stop.

    Now I will edited the double spaces out of this comment.

  • Reply lifeineden July 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    I still do it. I say, if it feels good — DO IT!

  • Reply magpie July 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    yeah. me too. my husband gets on my case about it. (and i very consciously did not put those extra bits into this comment.)

    my FIL still types like he’s on a
    typewriter – he puts a hard
    return at the end of every line.
    the notion that the computer will
    wrap the text is beyond him.

  • Reply matt July 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I use them, and I don’t care that they are wrong. I like the way it looks. I like the way they make text flow. I will continue to use them until, well, until I don’t, but I expect it to be a long, long time from now.

    • Reply emily July 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Fight the power!

  • Reply WendyElissa July 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I don’t think people of our age can break that habit. It would take months of habitual behavior modification. Maybe with the use of an electric shock every time you pressed the space bar down for a second time. Our children and grandchildren will have to blaze the way for this newfangled way of typing. Us old folks will stick to our old fashioned ways.

  • Reply klgs24 July 3, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Wait! What? Two spaces after a period is verboten? I guess I’m just old, because it is totally habitual for me. Also pressing the space twice is the only way I GET a period on my phone!

  • Reply The Slacker Mom July 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Well, I feel a little less bad bout using two spaces now. I once quit a group blog because the owner (who was 21) sent me a sternly worded email over my transgressions. Sorry kiddo, I learned how to type in 1985. Old habits die HARD.

  • Reply emily July 3, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    I love how this post has turned into a support group for double-spacers.

  • Reply Abigail July 4, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Please write about Oxford commas next. I have strong opinions about BOTH of these subjects.

  • Reply Lauren July 4, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Holy cow. I had no idea. Most of the people I work for and with are my age or older. I’d have to carry around a book of proper usage to explain NOT using two spaces then they’d just think I was bitchy. I did just realize as I was writing this though, that Steve Jobs fixed it for me. When I hit the two spaces on my iDevices it actually only puts one space after the period. Who knew? I can’t wait to try one space at work and see how the grammar checker from Microsoft handles it. I’m still typing two spaces. It’s the right hing to do.

  • Reply cathy July 4, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hey, two-spacers! I learned 2 spaces in college and shifted to using 1 space when writing for business. I always assumed each group had its preferences — or maybe that smart people didn’t write for business and business people didn’t go to college.

    Now all language rules have gotten mushed — horrid business acronyms have been usurped by horrid textisms; semicolons and colons are the mark of the dinosaur, if not of the devil; and if you’re polysyllabic, you may as well be a moron: Nobody has a clue what you mean.

    If you see the need to conform and you don’t have a Jobs auto-correct device, you can always 2-space along to your heart’s content (Heck! Why not 3-space it??) and at the end, do a simple CTRL + H (Find/replace) and key in (period plus 2 spaces) in the “find” field and (period plus 1 space) in the “replace” field, then click “replace all”.

    Conformity is easy. 🙂

  • Reply Steph July 5, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Lawyers do it. We live by the Blue Book, so I have to really concentrate to *not* do it. So I usually just do it. (-;

  • Reply Lisa M July 6, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I did not know that we weren’t supposed to hit the space key twice after a period anymore. I am sure my 2011-2012 5th graders would have loved if someone had told me sooner! 🙂

  • Reply Mary G July 6, 2012 at 1:56 am

    I learned to type in 1959. I have trained the extra space out of my typing, under some pressure to seem (although I will never be) with it. Now I am not sure why, hearing all of you. Another kind of space warfare, hmm?

  • Reply Slow Panic July 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Confession: I wasn’t sure if I still did two spaces or not after a period so I went to Word and just typed a couple of sentences. I do. It’s just habit and I like it that way and I’m not going to stop. I don’t care.

  • Reply Lilian Nattel July 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    When I took typing in high school I was taught 2 spaces after a period. I did eventually kick the habit. So can you, but if you don’t, it’s all right. You’ve confessed and you’re absolved.

  • Reply Catherine July 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I do it too! I was just working with a graphic designer who kept emailing me to remind me it wasn’t necessary and she just had to take them out. But I couldn’t stop myself.

  • Reply Karen August 19, 2012 at 3:07 am

    I can not switch to the new grammar rule either. It feels so incredibly wrong to single space after a period!

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