#1 Way to Instantly Outdate Yourself

So, apparently people don’t use VCRs anymore. Who knew? My husband and I are a bit moronic in the TV department (we don’t even have cable), so anyone checking out our entertainment center will instantly see we’re brainlessly outdated.

Want to know how someone will conclude the same thing of you? Just by looking at your writing? They will if you’re still putting those ridiculous two spaces after a period.

Yep, the ol’ double space thing.

Back in the Day

Long ago—oh, so very long ago—we used typewriters and, yes, we did put two spaces after a period. We did so because typewriter characters were monospaced—that is, every letter occupied an equal amount of horizontal space. This made it hard to determine one sentence from another, hence the double space between sentences.

When computers came along, fonts became proportional. Different letters had different widths. Today nearly every font is proportional and we no longer need to use two spaces after a period. In fact, not only do two spaces not enhance readability, they actually take away from it. Two spaces create large gaps of white—some fonts worse than others—that actually slow the reader and make it subconsciously more difficult to focus.

Go ahead, check out newspapers, magazines and books, both hardcopy and online. You won’t find any professionally printed publication that uses two spaces after a period. They haven’t for a long, long time.

Folks, It’s Time to Give It Up!

The transition from typewriters to computers happened more than 25 years ago. Twenty-five years! When you refuse to give up the double space, you not only hinder the readability of your writing, you brand yourself as brainlessly outdated.

Clueless. Delayed. Stubborn. Apathetic.

Many people say using two spaces is what they learned in school and it’s simply a hard habit to give up. But wait, some of you are only 25-30 years old! In your readers’ eyes, not only are you one of  the detrimentals listed above, it seems you didn’t get an opportune education (and maybe what you’re writing isn’t so credible after all).

Understand what I’m saying folks? See how the double space makes you look?

And now, I’m off to my upstairs entertainment center where we actually have a DVD player. Yeah, we’re not such old fogies after all.


6 thoughts on “#1 Way to Instantly Outdate Yourself”

  1. It’s actually amazing how many students are still learning the “two space” rule. I find this a little concerning. It may seem like such an arbitrary thing, but you’re right when you say it hinders our reading. The difficulty is magnified online.

  2. Hi, my name is Terri, and I am clueless. 25 years of reading printed material, and I never noticed the difference between one space – two space. It will take some concerted effort to control my twitching thumb. But I’ll try.

  3. Lauren, I didn’t realize that about coding issues with the double space. But now that you mention it, I often received emails or eNewsletters that come across with weird characters in them. Now I know why – double spaces!

  4. There are two things that instantly cause me ire, simply because they’re both too hard to read: center justified text and stylized fonts. Both of these are fine, but only for a SMALL AMOUNTS OF TEXT, like the HEADING. Certainly not for the content! (I just came across a blog completely written in Comic Sans! Not only unreadable, but it’s immediately branded as childish and unprofessional).

    If I can get beyond the two above and actually start reading, the double space then immediately catches my eye. And yes, it does give me the impression of being out of date. I know it’s trivial, but if you’re not up to date on common formatting practices, I can’t help but feel the information you’re offering in your blog might also be out of date.


Leave a Comment

error: Content is protected !!