Friends don’t let friends type two word spaces after periods

While hanging out with friends and drinking beer at Rhinegeist Brewery, someone brought up the subject of using two words spaces at the end of a sentence. I didn’t bring it up. I’ve learned to never bring up the subject of typography with anyone unless they’re a family member and they’re locked in a moving car with me.

Several of my beer drinking friends said they always use two word spaces after a period. They were taught to do that in high school typing class (I need to digress here and note that all of the beer drinkers were old enough that we learned to type on actual typewriters), they’ve always done it that way, and it looks weird with just one space.

My first impulse was to tell everyone “NEVER USE TWO WORD SPACES AFTER A PERIOD!!!” But my years on this planet have taught me that things usually go better when I ignore my first impulse.

So instead I said “95% of the books, newspapers and magazines you’ve ever read have used only one word space after a sentence.”

The two-word-space people looked at me like I just said the world was flat. One of them asked why they were taught to use two spaces in high school typing class.

I didn’t have an answer. But I said that when I get copy from a client one of the first things I do is to change all the double spaces to single spaces. It’s what I was taught in typography class and it’s the industry standard.

I also said that on the internet, whether on Facebook, or anyplace else, multiple word spaces get converted to single spaces. So even if they type two word spaces in a Facebook post, it always displays as one word space.

I don’t think I convinced anyone to stop using double spaces. But I did convince them to never bring up the subject of typography around me.