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How many spaces follow a period according to APA guidelines?

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2014  |  15629 Views

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APA's Publication Manual (6th edition) includes information on punctuation and style, including the number of spaces after a period.

In specific, section 4.01 (p. 87-88) of the Manual covers "Spacing After Punctuation Marks."

For periods, APA prescribes three different scenarios...

  • One space after periods that separate parts of a reference citation
  • One space after periods that are initials in a personal name
  • Two spaces after periods that are at the end of a sentence
    • WHY does APA ask you to do this?: "Spacing twice after punctuation marks at the end of a sentence aids readers of draft manuscripts" (p. 88).

When following APA's instructions, please realize that it is no longer common to ask for double spacing after a period at the end of a sentence. Most grammar and style guides will tell you to include only one space after that period.

Also note that most instructors are happy with the normal one space after a period. When in doubt, ask.

To tell how many spaces you have put in, you can use the paragraph symbol in Word (top ribbon bar) to see:

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