Re: Space after Periods

Kenneth Chang (
Thu, 1 Jul 93 19:22:05 -0500

Odd # of >s = Terry Allen
Even # of >s = Daniel Miles Kehoe
>> > Rendered text usually has more space after a period that closes
>> > a sentence than after a period that marks an abbreviation,
>> Wait a second.... is the model a typewritten page or a published
>> page? Typists follow the rule of adding an extra space between
>> sentences within a paragraph. The rule for books (and by extension,
>> anything that does not use a fixed-pitch, monospaced font) is to use
>> the same space between sentences as between words. (I checked the
>> standard references, both "Words into Type" and the "Chicago Manual
>> of Style," on this.)
>You should look at real books instead.

To be more precise:
* Typewritten documents should have two spaces after sentence-ending periods.
* Word processed documents should use a single space.
* TeX and other typesetting programs often use a "long" space at the end of
sentences. It's more than a single space character, but much less than two.

Actually, I think most books don't do this any more. Newspapers certainly
don't. It's way too much trouble escaping out all the abbreviations. It
doesn't really add anything to readability.

I personally would prefer "one space fits all" as writers of HTML really
shouldn't need to know the fineries of typography (What's next? Range
kerning?), especially since it's not something 99.99% of people will notice
(i.e. it won't even look "wrong").

Then again, I didn't even notice until Terry mentioned so it's not a major
problem either way.

--ken chang
NCSA Publications