I’m not sure why this is an issue but I hear other writers ask about it all the time, so here it is again. Should there be one space after a period or two? Ugh . . .
Look, years ago there used to be a thing called a typewriter. It came in two versions, manual or electric. The manual had levered keys that when pressed hard enough, would swing an arm with a letter (lowercase and uppercase) engraved at the end of it. The face of the engraving would strike an ink ribbon and then the paper, leaving a printed letter. Pressing the shift key at the same time as you pressed the letter key, gave you uppercase letters, otherwise you got lowercase. It was always the same font and always the same spacing.
Electric typewriters were a major improvement and gave you soft touch keys with no levered swing arms. There were two options that I know of, print ball or print wheel, depending on the model. The benefit here was that you could change fonts by changing the ball or wheel, but spacing was pretty much fixed.
There’s a common theme here . . . fixed spacing and it’s the reason standard practice at the time was to put two spaces after a period. It not only helped to delineate sentences, it kind of looked better too. By the way, I’d like to point out that this is all information I gleaned from the musings of ancient wordsmiths. I for one, will never admit to having seen such a device in person or god forbid, using one—eh-hem, eh-hem, eh-hem.
Okay, history lesson over. Today we use computers, laser printers, and word-processing programs that offer more fonts and spacing options than we as writers, will ever need. Double-spacing after a period in no longer required because word processors already compensate by automatically adjusting proportions. Throw in some word wrapping and justification, and Bob’s your uncle. I’ve always wanted to use that phrase, hope I did it right. Hey, does anyone out there know what the hell Bob’s your uncle really means, and where it originated?
The long and short of it is this, no double spacing after a period. Period. Don’t believe me? Just pick up a book, look inside, and see for yourself. D’oh!