19 June 2012

One or Two?

Clay Thompson writes a feature for the Arizona Republic newspaper called “Valley 101” in which he attempts to answer questions submitted by his readers on any subject.  Recently, someone innocently (we assume) asked whether there should be one or two spaces at the end of a sentence.  I don’t remember the answer he gave, but apparently it caused a flurry of responses.  A large number of readers questioned his intelligence, which happens quite often, by insisting that one space is the correct number, citing various epistles such as Wikipedia, the Encyclopedia Britannica, Roget’s Thesaurus, and various English teachers from the far distant past, to justify their position.  An equal number of irate readers said that two was the only true answer, citing the very same epistles, and emphasizing the level of his incompetence as shown by his response.  He has since asked that we are free to use one or two, whichever suits us, and to please consider the matter closed, as he is tired of his mail being cluttered with angry threats and comments about his manhood.  So please don’t write him (clay.thompson@arizonarepublic.com) to join in the fray.

I myself have used two ever since I was weaned away from cursive writing and was sat down behind a keyboard, be it typewriter (remember those?), word processor or computer.  There’s something about automatic spacing using two empty spaces at the end of a sentence that appeals to my esthetic nature.  So whatever your preference, one, two or whatever, count me as a “two spaces” guy, and don’t bother trying to convert me.

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