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To Double-space or Not?

December 9th, 2011

There’s someone on Slate, and hence on NPR, who insists that it’s improper to double-space between sentences.  Although we were all taught in typing class that we should use two spaces between sentences, that’s only because we were using a mono-spaced typeface; the way real type is set, he said, is with a single space between words and between sentences.

Like, what does he know?  Has he ever set type?  I have.  as early as in Junior High School, I took Print Shop, and was taught: between words, an en space; between sentences, an em space.

“En” space is the space used up by a lower-case n character.  “Em” space is that used up by a lower-case m character.  Look at them closely: an m takes up twice the space as an n.  Note also: an M is twice the space as an N.  An M is also called a “quad”, because it is square, or quadrangular.

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  1. jb
    January 9th, 2012 at 17:27 | #1

    Thanks, I’m glad to read some push-back on this. I’ve seen that one-space thing too. It’s said with such authority!

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