My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Name is Chris and I Use Two Spaces

Worst. Character Defect. Ever.
I have a deep, dark confession to make. Some of you probably already have noticed this vast and personal failing, but to those who have not, I assure you, I am not attempting to get away with anything. I will lay it all bare.

My mother taught me to type when I was six. What I didn't learn from her, I learned in my high school keyboarding class in 1993. We still used typewriters back in those ancient days of yore. It was a different time--a time of innocence. Back when sending troops to Iraq was new and fresh and not the tired cliche of today. A time before computers and automatic formatting. Before the dark times.

Before The Empire.

Yes, by now, you probably know the deep horror to which I'm about to admit.

I am not a good person. I am flawed...frail...all too human. But the brightest lamp among my glaring faults is that I sometimes use two spaces after punctuation. I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. I learned skills and reinforced them day after day for years--decades. Who knew that we would end up with auto-formatting computers? We were just happy back then to not have to run from saber toothed tigers on our way to school.

As you can see from Farhad Manjoo this is an ugly error, and according to Damian Thomson it is an atrocity. I had hoped it would be enough in my life not to commit genocide or become a serial killer.

But I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Of course, like most such arguments, there are huge camps, debating even the very history surrounding the controversy. Lines were drawn. A typographical civil war rages with brother pitted against brother. There is a side out there that agrees with me makes pathetic excuses to justify my moral failing.

But I have no illusions that the two-spacers are morally depraved to their space bar tapping cores and on the wrong side of history. And so I can only ask you for your humble forgiveness that I am a human who has such a horrific and terrible practice ingrained deep within me as habit. I can only ask you to forgive me when I stray.

When I falter.

I am pretty good when I pay attention, and getting better, but when my fingers are flying, sometimes...I don't think about the hurt they can cause until it's already too late.

I am weak.


  1. Know that I'm in your camp. I taught myself to type when I was nine on a manual typewriter that probably weighed half what I did. Before turning to the world of technology and programming (where the lowly semi-colon reigns supreme), I spent many (many) years as a secretary / typist / executive assistant. I did a lot of typing. My last typing test (before I abandoned the merriment of the secretarial world was 105 wpm / 0 errors. (Full disclosure: the test was performed on an IBM-compatible 8086 computer in the WordPerfect 5.0 program. The blue background with white letters was not soothing.) I can't NOT put two spaces after a period. Goodness knows I've tried! The only time it happens is when it's an accident.

    I have issues. Putting two spaces after a period isn't the worst. Oh gods, I think I need therapy! ;-)

  2. Fellow two-spacer, I will change your world. Find and replace. Two spaces become one in less than a minute. And you still get that satisfying double tap. Boom. Boom.

  3. Funnily enough I've never actually heard anyone argue against the double space. I think the only time I was ever made to use it was when I had to write documents in AP style, and even then the explanation was always that it was just an idiosyncrasy of the style and not an attempt at correctness.