Do you care about how many spaces are between sentences?

You probably saw something about the study recently that says two spaces after a period is more readable than one.

Here’s a report on the study in The Atlantic, at The Scientific Case for Two Spaces After a Period. Money quote:

… there was an increase in reading speed of 3% when reading text with two spaces following periods, as compared to one. This is … an average of nine additional words per minute above their performance under the one-space conditions.

I think all of us old-line two-spacers pumped our fists in the air in a celebration of victory … and then doubled over in pain because that motion really makes your shoulder hurt. (Or is that just me?)

Being an opinionated writer, I have opinions about the two-space vs one-space “controversy.” This is going to be awfully nerdy, so if you’re not a nerdy word-person, you might want to move along about now.

  • I have no way of knowing if the research was valid, repeatable, or meaningful. But I bet that if that extra space between sentences matters, it only matters a little bit. Do you really think that a block of one-space copy chases away some huge percentage of readers?
  • I root for two-spaces because anything that lets a bit more “air” into your text, making it less of a solid wall of gray type, has to be good. A far more effective way to do that is to use short paragraphs.
  • If you’re writing for the web, HTML takes away the decision. It’s going to show only one space, no matter how many you type. (There’s a way to hard-code the extra space in, but let’s be realistic — who’s gonna do that?)
  • Either way, I’m too old to change. I can’t not hit that space bar twice after a period. It’s as automatic as breathing. I’ve actually tried. Can’t do it.
  • If some proofreader with time on their hands wants to take the extra spaces out of something I’ve written, go ahead. I have other things to worry about.

So God bless the researchers. This time, anyway.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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