A deceptively ambiguous adverb
Writers on Process

Your computer is not an Underwood typewriter. So stop putting two spaces after every sentence.

Underwood Sometimes I’m surprised at how tightly some otherwise clear-thinking people cling to what they learned in high-school typing class. When I took typing in high school, 37 years ago, I was taught to hit the space bar twice after each sentence. That was a good lesson back then, because I was typing on an Underwood manual typewriter, a machine incapable of producing anything in a proportionately spaced font.

Today, if you’re reading this blog post, then you probably write on a computer, not an Underwood typewriter. And unless you’re perverse enough to have set the default font in your word-processing software to Courier, everything you write on your computer is written in a proportionately spaced font. This fact makes the two-spaces rule obsolete. Once space after each sentence is enough.

Recently John McIntyre wrote about this; the flak he caught prompted him to write two follow-up posts (here and here). Me, I’m left wondering why anyone who cares deeply about getting their writing right would be so unwilling to re-examine what they learned in high school.

My prior blog posts on this should-be-uncontroversial topic are here, here, here, and here.

(Photo credit.)

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