One space good, two spaces better?

The great space debate continues.

For years, I used two spaces after the full stop (or period, if you prefer). Then, I learned and understood the rationale: modern typography requires only one space. Partly in deference to the designers and editors who pick up my stark copy and convert it into beauty, I switched. Now I can spot an over-large, double-space chasm at a single glance.

However.  All of the above, in pursuit of convention and typographic elegance, ignores the reader . A recent research paper – Are Two Spaces Better Than One? The Effect of Spacing Following Periods and Commas During Reading – shows that a double-space aids mental processing surely a goal for all writers.

Although comprehension was not affected by punctuation spacing, the eye movement record suggested that initial processing of the text was facilitated when periods were followed by two spaces

I rather like Edward Tufte’s (@EdwardTufte) tweet on the matter:

Think about this as 2 spaces as BEFORE the start of a sentence rather the 2 spaces AFTER a period.

Time to reconsider convention?


Photo by Sergio Teixeira on Unsplash


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