One Space, Two Space; Green Space, Blue Space.writing
The age-old debate: one space after each sentence, or two spaces after each sentence. It’s a whitespace debate older than the most furious tabs versus spaces debacle. Which is right, which is wrong? Sure, you could explain this through a simple difference of opinion, or perhaps a generational divide, but the issue is a bit more nuanced than that. The quick answer is: follow whatever style manual you’re given. However, if you’re like me, you’re your own boss when it comes to formatting you’re writing in certain situations (like here).
The argument for two spaces focuses on readability. Proponents say that this helps the eye differentiate sentences better, so words jumble together less. This is a very convincing argument, however this standard was created back when we typed on typewriters. Why is this important? Typewriters use monospaced font, so each character and space has the same width. Since typewriters can’t dynamically adjust character widths and spacing depending on which characters are next to each other (a process called kerning), the typist has to add that space after sentences by hand.
The argument for a single space is simple: it’s less characters to type, and it’s the standard in most major style guides, including MLA, APA, and Chicago. Microsoft Word automatically flags extra spaces after sentences without changing a setting for it. Generally speaking, most people are writing directly in a proportional font, or a font where the character widths and spacing are different, and variable depending on the context. Modern kerning is good enough in most cases to adequately space out sentence breaks, unless you’re on any Linux desktop not named KDE Plasma.
So, the best quick answer? Two spaces when using monospaced font, one space when using proportional fonts. One last note, it’s impossible to type with two spaces after a punctuation in markdown since it automatically strips extra whitespace. I don’t like this because I can’t do two spaces on this blog (also paragraph indents, at least until I figure out how to fix the theme CSS to allow this) which would make it far more readable.