Life lessons through punctuation.

Author I shall allow to remain anonymous: “I think most of us are familiar with the two spaces after a period.”

I just learned that an organization I’m writing for requires two spaces after a period. I thought surely this was an arcane carry-over back from the time I was in elementary school and just learning to type. Surely this would be amended once someone recognized that it was in writing. It wasn’t easy to learn to type with just one space after a period, surely I do not have to re-learn two spaces. And why? It’s so old fashioned.

Then I was emailed the words above. It looks like I have some relearning to do.

Eventually it occurred to me that I might be wrong. Is there anyone other than anonymous author who still believes in two spaces?

It turns out that there are other people, and organizations that use two spaces after a period. The debate is still alive and well. There may even be a reason to have some extra space; in at least one study people read faster when two periods were used after a sentence. The author of the article explaining this study writes the following:

I find two spaces after a period unsettling, like seeing a person who never blinks or still has their phone’s keyboard sound effects on. I plan to teach my kids never to reply to messages from people who put two spaces after a period. I want this study’s conclusion to be untrue—to uncover some error in the methodology, or some scandal that discredits the researchers or the university or the entire field of psychophysics.

~ James Hamblin

These sentences gave me a good chuckle, but the experience reminds me 1) not to jump to conclusions about other’s ideas, and 2) to remember that differing opinions can be valid and my own worldview is often different than those around me.

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