I am currently proofreading a typeset document that's automatically hyphenated "client" to justify a line. The bottom of one page has "cli-", and then, after a page turn, "-ent" on the next page. I'm marking it as something that should be changed. Are there written rules that address this?

Thanks for any help.


2 Answers 2


Yes, there are written rules, such as those in the Chicago Manual of Style. My 15th edition, 3.11 (page 94) says that:

"A page should not begin with the last line of a paragraph unless it is full measure and should not end with the first line of a new paragraph. Nor should the last word in any paragraph be broken--that is, hyphenated, with the last part of the word beginning a new line. To correct any of these occurrences, page length may be adjusted. (A very short line at the top of a page is known as a "widow"; a single word or part of a word at the end of a paragraph is an "orphan.")

This doesn't specifically address the situation you describe, but the general concept (the heading of 3.11) is *Overall appearance."


Yes, there are written rules, such as those in Bringhurst's seminal work The Elements of Typographic Style. In Version 3.1 (p44) he says

Style books sometimes insist that both parts of a hyphenated word must occur on the same page: in other words, that the last line on a page must never end with a hyphen. But turning the page is not, in itself, an interruption of the reading process. It is far more important tp avoid breaking words in those locations where the reader is likely to be distracted by other information. That is, whenever a map, a chart, a photograph, a pull-quote, a sidebar or other interruption intervenes.

2.4.11 Abandon any and all rules of hyphenation and pagination that fail to serve the needs of the text.

  • Sidenote: I would certainly try to arrange things so the last character on a page is not a hyphen, but Bringhurst is an authority who has provided a written rule to address exactly the question asked.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 20:33

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