Should You be Adding a Double Space After a Period?

by | Jul 11, 2023 | Content Creation

The short answer: No.

Why We Were Taught to Add Two Spaces After a Period

Do you know why people originally added two spaces after a period?

Because of typewriters.

Typewriters used monospace typesetting, which meant that every character took up the same amount of space. This is because every letter or number was an individual stamp, which would stamp onto the page as you typed. Because every character took up the same space, it was hard to differentiate a single space with the amount of white space already surrounding each character. Thus, double-spacing is what helped clearly define the end of a sentence.

Nowadays, we no longer stamp our words onto documents. Instead, we use computers, and new fonts are designed to be proportionally spaced rather than monospaced. Word processing software like Microsoft Word or Google Docs automatically adjusts the spacing after a period so you don’t have to do it.

Look! You can tell where each of my sentences ends as you read this post! The software is doing the work for you, to the point that you’ll actually see the red squiggle line of incorrectness underneath your text if you add a double space.

It’s the 21st Century—Single Space After Periods, Periodt!

I think the APA was one of the last style guides that changed its guidelines from two spaces after a period to one. But I remember the change very clearly because my husband was in the middle of writing his Master’s thesis in 2019 when the guidelines changed; he was not very happy about it.

Most people are not going to have to be as strict with how many spaces they put after their periods, but a double space can actually make it more difficult for people to read your content. At the subconscious level, it might be less pleasant to look at your webpage or blog, or it could be distracting on a social media post. On a conscious level, though, it could make your writing look outdated and your expertise less reliable.

But This Post Isn’t Just About Periods…

All petty grammar details aside, this is a great lesson about how the rules of marketing are constantly changing. Sometimes it’s because technology has improved. Other times, it’s because of changes in culture and society. Actually, it’s probably better to view them less as rules and more like guidelines. 

At the end of the day, marketing is about reaching more people and guiding them towards making certain decisions. The goal of serving your customers well will never change, but the methods on how to best serve them will. So, if you are a business owner, we recommend staying open-minded! While you don’t have to apply every new guideline to your marketing, understanding why things change will help you make better decisions for your brand.