Tag Archives: old dog new tricks

One Space vs. Two Spaces

*This post is dedicated to my mom and S. Arthur Yates*

In all the years I’ve been teaching creative writing, there’s one point that people find incredulous. In fact, I’ve actually had students disagree with me over this, despite the fact that I’ve worked with editors and an agent, all who spend loads of time reading manuscripts for a living. The truth is, it is now industry standard to only have one space between sentences. Not two.

“But this is how I was taught,” one woman (who will remain unnamed but is related to me) said. “And it wasn’t that long ago. Besides, it’s easier to read with two spaces between sentences.”

I was taught to type with two spaces after each sentence, too. On my word processor. Remember those? But now, with the advent of the PC, it’s no longer necessary to use an extra long space between sentences. In fact, it can leave too much white space and look awkward, depending on the font. Although truth be told, most times I don’t notice a difference at all.

For me, I’m happy to use one space. Less pecking at the keyboard. But for people who are used to tapping the space bar twice, this can be a real annoyance. It’s like learning a new language. It will take time before it becomes second nature. And you know what they say about teaching an old dog new tricks (not that I’m calling anyone a dog).

So to anyone who may be surprised to learn that they are turning in manuscripts that aren’t correctly formatted according to industry standard, here is the information, right from the young horse’s mouth (not that I’m calling myself a horse).

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