Put One Space between Sentences

Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2015
Joan Y. Edwards

“Put One Space between Sentences” by Joan Y. Edwards

A few years ago, someone wrote, “Don’t put two spaces between sentences.”

I said, “What? This can’t be true. I have been trained for years to put two spaces when typing. Ever since 1954 in my high school typing class.”
However, it is true. We should only put one space between sentences now. My mother, Ethel D. Meyer, had the neatest saying about things that weren’t true any more. She said, “Old usedta’s dead.”
In 1989, Shushan and Wright said in the book, Desktop Publishing by Design, that “typesetting requires only one space after periods, question marks, exclamation points, and colons, and identified single sentence spacing as a typographic convention.

In 2010 The Chicago Manual of Style of the University of Chicago Press stated that one space be used between sentences. I put other sources that explain reasons for this in the reference section.

Most printed materials now use one space between sentences. Many publishers and agents expect manuscripts in one space between sentences format. Others may not. Follow their guidelines. If the guidelines don’t specify, I suggest that you use one-space formatting to show agents and publishers that you’re up to date!
Now you say to me, my Microsoft Word software puts two spaces between sentences. Here’s a link to directions for changing the settings from two spaces to one for Microsoft Word Software Versions 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003: http://word.tips.net/T001820_An_Automatic_Two_Spaces_after_a_Period.html
If you use Microsoft Word 2007 or higher you can set it for one space, and it will show you put a green wavy line where there are extra spaces.

  1. Click on the windows logo (red, blue, green, and yellow in the top left corner of a Word Document.
  2. Scroll down to bottom blue ribbon part and look over to right, click on Word Options
  3. Then click on the third word down,
  4. Then find the third subject title down: Checking Grammar and Style in Word. At the bottom of that section, it says: Writing Style. Click on Settings to right of the box beside it. Look for the Sentence spacing rule.
  5. There are three choices:
  • 1 (space)  Select 1, if you want Word’s grammar checker to mark as errors the sentences with more than one space after a period.
  • 2 (spaces)  Select 2, if you want Word’s grammar checker to mark as errors any sentences that have a single space or more than 2 spaces between sentences.
  • don’t check Select this option if you don’t want the Word’s grammar checker to check the spacing between sentences.

Choose the one you want, and click okay. Make sure you click okay or you’ll have to start all over again. Then Word marks incorrect spacing between sentences with a little green jagged line.
If my directions confuse you, go to http://wordribbon.tips.net/T010775_An_Automatic_Two_Spaces_after_a_Period.html.

I recommend subscribing to Allen Wyatt’s Word Tips. 
If per chance your editor wants two spaces and your manuscript has only one space between sentences, you can easily fix it. If you right click on the wavy green line, you can choose grammar, and it will show you how to change it to correct spacing.

If you click on the Review tab along the top blue ribbon bar at the top of Word, then choose Spelling and Grammar to the far left, it will let you know each sentence that the spacing is incorrect and if you click “change,” it will automatically fix it for you.
If you magnify your manuscript to size 16 font, you’ll be able to see the green wavy lines better.

Thank you for reading my blog. I appreciate you. You’re the greatest!

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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards
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15 thoughts on “Put One Space between Sentences”

  1. Joan,
    Thanks for the step-by-step process that adjusts computer settings for only one space between sentences. I didn’t realize this could be done. I have used the manual method of find and replace in the past per document. It will be helpful to have the little green wavy lines appear as a reminder to make changes as I create new documents. Thanks again. Your post is very helpful and so are you!

    1. Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing and telling me that I am helpful. I like to be helpful. I’m glad you think that setting the computer for one space between sentences that will show a green squiggly line when there is more than one space will be helpful to you. I believe that any trick to help us save time and make our manuscripts more professional is definitely worthwhile.
      Do something fun today!
      Never Give Up

  2. Thanks, Joan. I’ve been using only one space, but didn’t realize there was a way to check it. I followed your directions, which turned out to be a little different in my processor, but still was able to adjust my settings.

    1. Dear Gretchen,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad that you were able to fix the settings in your software to check your documents for one space between sentences. Awesome. Thumbs up to you for already using one space between sentences. You have had a lot of books and articles published now. Please write me back and tell me the names of all of them. I am very proud of you.
      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up

  3. I’ve been using one space, as per my publishers instructions but I didn’t know about the automated way to set this. Thanks for the tip.

    1. Dear Kristina,
      Thanks for writing and validating that your publisher does want one space between sentences. It’s neat to set it for one space which shows up the green squiggly lines when there’s more than one space.
      Celebrate you!
      Never Give Up

  4. Very interesting, Joan. I didn’t know Word automatically did two spaces. I’ve always put one space in myself so I don’t think I have to change that.

    1. Dear Sandra,
      Thank you for writing. If you fix Word for one space, It’ll let you know if for some chance, you put two spaces instead of one with the squiggly green line. That’s why I use that setting. But I’m glad you’re using one space between sentences! Congratulations on your new book, We Bought A WWII Bomber: The Untold Story of a Michigan High School, a B-17 Bomber & The Blue Ridge Parkway! I look forward to doing the interview with you about this book in place of the query critique. Thanks for being a loyal follower of my blog.
      Have a great day!
      Never Give Up

  5. Joan,
    This was so helpful. Thank you for taking the time to give us this information. I’ve changed my spacing thanks to you!

    1. Dear June,
      Thanks for writing. I am glad that this post helped you change your settings. Now that green squiggly line will help you get your spacing in good format! Thanks for being a loyal follower of my blog. I appreciate you very much.
      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up

  6. If only I had read this last spring when I was working with my publisher and editor on Ozette’s HeartStone. I had used two spaces after the period in sentences and had to change all of them – one period at a time. Now I know. But I still find myself wanting to use two spaces. Old habits die hard!

    1. Dear Judy, Thank you for writing, i am very sorry that you had that time-consuming task of fixing the spacing one period at a time. Please reward yourself for doing that. That took a lot of determination!
      Never Give Up

    1. Dear Kathleen,
      You are very welcome. Thank you for writing. I’m glad my post helped make you aware of something new. I enjoy learning new things, too.
      Do something fun today.
      Never Give Up

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