A grammar blog I read the other day reminded me of a Slate post from a couple of weeks ago about the practice of adding two spaces after a period when typing. Farhad Manjoo, the Slate author, has very strong opinions on the subject, and even consulted typographers for clarification. I checked with the Modern Language Association (MLA) website, which provides a non-prescriptive answer.
I’m not sure I have any strong opinions on the subject. The standard in my English class last year was two spaces, and I did what I was told. Although, personally, I tend to follow the web standard, which solves the problem for me. The HTML specification is to collapse all white space when rendering inter-word spacing; meaning that spaces between words (e.g., from a period to the next word) will be collapsed to one space. Easy.
Generally, modern typography and technology resolve issues that arose from monospaced text on typewriters, allowing for a return to the original rules of typeset typography.
I don’t usually solicit feedback on my thoughts, but this time I will. What do you guys think about spaces after periods?