This is, perhaps, just a little thing and maybe not really worth a whole meta question but it's been on my mind for a while now. I was taught, as many of you were also, to double space after a period. I always liked that rule. Something about double tapping the space bar is tactilely pleasing. Yet, when I read the finished text, I find I am internally and recurrently repulsed by the utter disregard for traditional grammars. When did and who decided double spacing was no longer necessary? Or is this some quirk with the methods used by your text parsers?

I mean, others and myself use armour, colour, cœlestial and other archaic spellings. I suppose it's just a fashion, like bell bottoms or something. It's a matter of preference and, maybe a nod to or respect for tradition. Disallowing me to separate my sentences with double spaces is like forcing nu-metal faux-goths to forgo their baggy, studded, and strap-addled cargos to cram their legs into hipster-skinny-girl jeans.

Okay maybe it's not like that, but does sort of bother me to see something I wrote, all my beautiful ideas, listlessly compressed into such a filthy format. Anyone with me on this, or am I just being too OCD?

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    I think you're being too OCD, but then on the other hand double spaces after periods is one of the few old-fashioned rules I never thought had any merit in the first place, so it may simply be my dislike for that. It seems to be inconsistent for inconsistency's sake (no other punctuation uses extra spaces, nor should it). – Nathan Tuggy Aug 13 '15 at 6:29
  • On Stack Exchange sites (and other sites) it's used in Markdown. Is your question related to Markdown and how Stack Exchange uses double space, or are you discussing grammar/punctuation specifically? If the latter then you need to be on another Stack site (e.g. english.) – James Aug 13 '15 at 14:23
  • I was mainly looking for a way to force the extra spaces. Even if everyone things I'm an old dinosaur for doing so, there are some trends I simply cannot follow. Even if its important to nobody else but me! – punkerplunk Aug 13 '15 at 14:39

It might be your age and/or what you learned at school.

Pops asked a similar question on ELU:

In the past — or at least, when I was in elementary school — periods/full stops were followed by two spaces. Lately, it's become more and more common to see just one space. In the modern world, should we still use two spaces between sentences, or is just one okay?

emphasis is mine

So I won't blame your self-acclaimed OCD but muscle memory. Rather think of it that the designers of PageDown (and its variations) had to find a way to separate paragraphs. They decided to go for double-space, maybe with in the back of their head that they used that to separate sentences in earlier days, so that users didn't have to un-train those muscles but only move their old habits from the end of the sentence to the end of the paragraph.

The accepted answer from ShreevatsaR summarized it nicely

Don't use two spaces unless you're using a fixed-width font like a typewriter. If forced to choose only between one space and two, choose one. But if your typesetting system supports it, have a wider space between sentences.

Just to be complete, a double space is transformed by the MarkDown parser to a <br></br> in html which denotes a line-break.


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  • Love it. Says it all. Why do we even bother with words anymore anyway? – punkerplunk Aug 13 '15 at 15:22

There is very little gained from on-line presentation that includes a larger space to separate sentences. Note the emphasis, as certain typographic software that result in printed media still insists on different spacing around punctuation (most notably, (La)TeX).

However, old, OCD-infused habits may be hard to brush off. So, if you can't handle the heat of sentences nuzzling up to one another, bring out your HTML basics and insert some &nbsp;s:

Here is a short sentence. And another sentence follows.

Here is a short sentence.&nbsp; And another sentence follows.


Here is a short sentence. And another sentence follows.

Here is a short sentence.  And another sentence follows.

Know this: the Internet won't change just for you. Perhaps you'll soon find the above is enough to sway you from your historic ways...

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    Historic ways, pfff I'm not that old. $nbs; I'm just old school like that.$nbs; I'm not asking the Internet to change, only that it acknowledge my right to not change with it. – punkerplunk Aug 13 '15 at 14:41

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