The Great Space Debate BlackDog at Work

How many spaces should there be after a period (a/k/a "full stop")?  If you've sat through a typing class or two with an instructor holding a ruler over your knuckles to make sure your fingers are in the exactly correct position, your answer will be "TWO!"  If you haven't, your answer probably will be "ONE!"

There is a true controversy raging over the correct number of spaces after a period (and also a colon).  Modern typesetters creating documents that will be published primarily use one space.  In the world of professional printing, typefaces are well-designed with professionally-tweaked kerning that should not require that extra space after a period.  In those instances, the period itself is given a comfortable amount of space for the characters following it to fall in their place.  However, on an old-fashioned typewriter, text was printed with a fixed-width typeface.  Fixed-width typefaces do not aid a reader when presented with a block of text.  We are familiar with this look with Courier, a font we see quite often these days.  This lack of kerning after a period or a colon created the need to insert that extra space as a clue that the end of a sentence was coming.  Most people see ahead of where they are reading, and such cues are important to maintain flow.  For example, consider the difference between these two blocks of text:
Modern typesetters would put only one space after the period in this sentence, like this. But is it easier to read than a block of text with two spaces after the period? I'm not sure. What do you think? What about the readability of a sentence like this: "He had been wondering whether it was available in the U.K. So, Smith decided the following measure should be used...."

A typing teacher would say that two spaces are required after the period in this sentence, like this.  Is this easier to read than the block of text above?  What do you think?  What about the readability of a sentence like this: "He had been wondering whether it was available in the U.K.  So, Smith decided the following measure should be used...."
Modern versus traditional?  Which way to go?  It's a close call, but I think it is easier to read a block of text, especially on the internet, with two spaces after the period.  And that's why the typing test on this site requires two spaces instead of one.

For a more complete discussion of this burning issue, check out the following sources.:

How Many Spaces After a Period? - from Adrian Roselli

Full stop - from Wikipedia

One Space or Two? - from the University of Chicago Manual of Style

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