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Should I use one space or two at the end of a sentence?

Posted by Wendy Wood on 31st March , 2020 in Grammar
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I’ve mentioned before that I often proofread for my husband. He knows the importance of having another person check his writing! If he’s written something for work and it’s important, he trusts me to find his spelling and punctuation errors.

Every time I proofread for him, I’m inundated with double – sometimes triple or more if he’s feeling saucy – spaces after full stops. Did you know the rule has changed to just a single character space? And that it applies to all ending punctuation, not just periods? And that one space is also used following a colon?

The Chicago Manual of Style states:
One space, not two, should be used between sentences – whether the first ends in a period, a question mark, an exclamation point, or a closing quotation mark or parenthesis. By the same token, one space, not two, should follow a colon.

If you were taught the two-space rule eons ago in typing class, like my husband was, I suggest a “find and replace” as the first step in your editing process.

Wendy Wood


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