New Year, More You...In 2 (Weeks)! #5

It's Day 5!

(missed Day 4? You can find it here.)

We're halfway my lovelies! How are you feeling? Hopefully it's been fairly painless and fairly easy so far. That's the point! And we have just one week to go. Oh baby! That surprise is getting closer and closer. I can taste it. Today we're going to tackle one of my biggest pet peeves. If you are ME years old, chances are you're guilty of this and might even have a really hard time letting it go. But for the sake of all things correct in creating digital copy...


Squeeze on in there

Before social distancing was a thing, we put two spaces after a period. For those of us who grew up using a typewriter, this was the norm. And for those of you in legal or academia, it can sometimes still be. Here's a great explanation of the origins of the two spaces after a period.

It started when the typewriter replaced hand set printing presses. When type was set by hand the spacing was carefully crafted to make sentences and paragraphs easier to read. Typewriters use a monospace font that make it hard to distinguish the end of a sentence without adding the extra space. Thus the addition of the extra space. Now, however with web fonts, we no longer need to do that, nor should we. In fact you can't even add two spaces with html. It's hard coded against that. I bet you didn't think you'd learn actual things during this challenge. You're welcome!

Spaces create breaks

When we think about people reading our content, the idea is to get them to keep reading. While you may think those double spaces give your copy room to breathe, they actually do the opposite. They send a signal to the brain of the reader that breaks up the flow and actually stops them from reading. The very thing you don't want them to do. (It also just tells people you're out of touch with modern standards, so there's that.)

Your copy doesn't need to breathe. It's not a mammal. The tighter your copy, in all the ways it can be tight, the more likely it will get read.

I've seen people use three spaces, put spaces on either side of ellipses and then not use a space for an em dash. People! Stop this madness. One space for a period. One on either side of an em dash. None for ellipses. So it is said. So it shall be written.

Come a little bit closer

For challenge #4, you're going to make sure that you only use one space after a period in your bio.

For bonus points, remove spaces around any this, and add a space to either side of an em dash — like this — viola! The reason for the em dash space is to encourage a pause in the reading, since an em dash often acts like a comma. And typically something between an em dash is important, so we want the reader to really notice it.

That's it.

Easy peasy.

See you tomorrow.

And if your bio already uses one space after a period...