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Tom Pfeifer's Blog

One Space End of the Line

 April 13, 2020


Yes, I know they still teach two

spaces after a period (or question

or exclamation mark) in school.

But just because your teacher’s

wrong doesn’t mean you have to be.


The only time we needed two

spaces after a period was when

we were beholden to typewriters.

Before typewriters, one space after

a period. After typewriters, one

space after a period. Typewriters

used a monospace font, which meant

a lot of wasted space between letters. To make it clear you were changing sentences, two spaces were necessary. Before typewriters, books, pamphlets, and other publications were printed with blocks of type—narrow or wide depending on the letter or punctuation. Between sentences the printer used a single blank block—a single space. Your computer now processes the spacing for you so you only need one space between sentences.

See if this helps you remember. Sung to the tune of One Toke Over the Line. (And, yes, you may smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em.)

(With high apologies to Michael Brewer and Tom Shipley)

One space end of the line, sweet Jesus
One space end of the line
Sittin' downtown at my laptop station
One space end of the line

Typewriter ain’t what you’re pounding on, Mary
Don’t need two spaces this time
Sittin' downtown at my laptop station
One space end of the line

Who do you love, I hope it's me
I've been a-changin', as you can plainly see
I felt the joy and I learned about the pain that my momma said
If I should choose to make a part of me, would surely strike me dead

Now I'm one space end of the line, sweet Jesus
One space end of the line
Sittin' downtown at my laptop station
One space end of the line
Typewriter ain’t what you’re pounding on, Mary
Don’t need two spaces this time
Sittin' downtown at my laptop station
One space end of the line

How many spaces? One space end of the line.


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(Editor's note: No one should go hungry during these trying times. If you have the means, please donate to your local food bank. Even a dollar goes a long way. Simply search "food banks near me" to find one. If you're in need, please contact them for help.)

 

Tom Pfeifer is president and CEO of Consistent Voice Communications and author of Write It, Speak It: Writing a Speech They’ll APPLAUD! Reach him at Tom@YourConsistentVoice.com.



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