Tag Archives: IBM Selectric typewriter

Pet peeve redemption! Double space be gone!

For years, I’ve been pestering people to stop using two spaces after a period when typing . My pleas fell on deaf ears and to my horror I found that people actually didn’t care! They claimed something they called ‘priorities’.

The use of double spaces is a throwback to the days before computers, before even IBM Selectric typewriters, when two spaces were visually necessary as there was no kerning – every keystroke, be it an “i” or an “M” or a “;” took up the same horizontal space. We needed that double space so our eyes could sort it all out.

Even then though, they  were never employed in typography. Fonts controlled  word and letter spaces, making text much easier to read.

So when IBM Selectrics and then computers entered the scene with fonts for all, the old double space was retired. Or it was supposed to be, except a few hundred million people didn’t get the message.

Today, Slate explains it all, and I am redeemed (I hope) amongst those friends who’d taken to covering their ears upon any mention of ‘spaces’. I shall immediately make them aware that I was, ahem, right.