Hi,

I wonder why long words at the enf of a line is separated. For example: tool-
board
.

As you see "tool" is written on a line and "board" is written on another.

Why aren't the two parts written in one line and leave that little space, in the above line, empty ?

My hunch is that this has to do with the printing cost i.e. if we done so, we may need more pages? Is this true?
Last edited {1}
Original Post
When writing in English, writers know that there is a margin, whether actually seen on the page or imagined, on both the left and right sides of the page. If writers feel that they will go beyond this margin on the right side while writing, they make a conscious decision about when to stop writing. If they're dealing with a single word as they approach the right margin and know it will fit, that's fine, but if they feel the whole word won't fit, they will go down to the next line and start writing at the left margin.

If they approach the end of a line and are about to write a multi-syllable word or a hyphenated word, they can separate the word by syllable, write part of the multi-syllable word before the right margin, and then continue the rest of the word on the next line at the left margin. If the word is hyphenated, they will separate the word at the hyphen.

Here's a demonstration. Assume that the right side has an imaginary margin which the writer acknowledges is there:

acknowledge-
ment

multi-
syllable
OK.

But I think there is no need for a conscious decision about when to stop writing as the WORD program can do that. I mean there are some icons, attached below, used to adjust a text boundaries. Also, you can adjust page size to your need using other choices available.

Thus, I for one, don't think that what you have said is plausible.

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Images (1)
Last edited by izzylovesyouall
To begin with, have you forgotten that people write by hand? What I described above was the traditional way of writing -- by hand.

Second, word-processing applications are designed for left or right justification or to have the right margin as straight as the left one. If you choose left justification, which is what most people use, the computer application will automatically drop a word to the next line if it is longer than the spaces remaining on a line. The only way to prevent a whole word from being dropped to the next line is if you add a hyphen after a certain syllable as I demonstrated above. By the way, if tool board is written this way, as two words, and there aren't enough spaces to include board, the computer will write tool as the last word on one line and board as the first word of the next line. If, on the other hand, toolboard is written as one word, the whole word will be dropped down to the next line unless the writer deliberately adds a hyphen after the l. Then the computer will drop only board to the next line.

At any rate, that's how we handle words at the end of a line when writing by hand or in a word-processing application when left justification is used.

One last thing: If you look back at what I wrote above, you'll see what I'm talking about. First, look at the first paragraph, which begins "When writing in English,..." At the end of the second line, you see the word right and then some space. The reason that space is there is because the application knew that the next word, sides, wouldn't fit, so it left the space and automatically dropped sides down to the beginning of the next line.

Second, look at the next-to-the-last paragraph, which begins "If they approach ..." Notice that multi- appears at the end of that line and syllable starts on the next line? That's because there's a hyphen. If there had been no hyphen, the whole thing, multisyllable, would have been dropped to the beginning of the next line.
Thanks a lot.

To make it clear, I'm talking here about printed materials not hand-written materials.

I'm using a part of your last reply as an example in the attachment.

1. Please tell why, in books, for example, one doesn't find a space like the one marked with the red circle in number 1 in the attachment though we know that leaving a space like that doesn't affect the margin?

2. If there is a word that can be separated in two lines with a hyphen, as phonetics, why isn't it written as one word in the following line and have the previous line left with that space? In other words, why is it insisted that a space is filled with even a part of a word?

3. If you press the icon marked in the attachment, you will get a text, like number 2 in the attachment, with equal boundaries without the need to separate words.

Attachments

Images (1)
Last edited by izzylovesyouall
1. It's because books use that style with straight margins on both sides, Izzy, just like you have in that no. 2 I saw on the attachment you've put here. It looks nicer, I suppose.

2. The answer to this question is basically the same reason for what I said in no. 1. It's for aesthetic reasons.

3. Yes, Izzy. I've already explained why that's done in books. Some people like to use that in other written work. It all depends on the writer and the style he/she wants to use.
Thanks a lot, Richard.

I agree with you that it looks nicer regardless of the margin whether we have a big or small margin.

Yet I still feel that the main reason for separating long words at the end of a line is due to printing cost. Say we have a 200-page book. This book contains about 200 words that were hyphenated i.e. one part of the word was written on a line and the other was written on another. Now, if it wasn't done so, we would need more lines. And more lines means more pages. And more pages means the cost of printing will go up. Thus, we will have then, say, a 220-page book. And if the 200-page book costs 20 dollars, it would then cost 22 dollars, for example, for those 20 extra pages.

I hope I made myself clear regardless of who is right.
Why don't you write to some publishers and ask them, Izzy? If they answer you, you'll know if your theory is correct. Wink
Dear Richard,

Here is the first reply I got.
Hi Ismael,

I can’t tell you for sure the origin of hyphenation. I suspect it’s a combination of the reasons you both gave – printing costs (this would be more of an issue in magazines, where space is at a premium), deference to writing tradition, but first and foremost it’s probably aesthetics. A typesetter will prefer justified text to ragged text, but on particularly short lines, or lines with mostly long words, justified text would mean hideously wide or narrow spacing between the words (see the attached Word doc for an example).

It’s not always obvious where one syllable ends and another begins, and the practice is widespread enough that typesetters tend to use dictionaries of hyphenation. The classic example is:

the-

rapist

which now hyphenated more sensitively as

ther-

apist

Hope that helps,

S

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