Widow "rules"

Subject: Widow "rules"
From: Eileen Foran <eenie -at- EXECPC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 1996 17:42:51 +0000


(Sorry if this is a repeat post. I tried to send it yesterday, but I
have yet see my message posted. So here I go again.)

I am editing a techincal document (a user's guide) and have found a
noble but unsuccessful attempt by the writer to avoid all widows
(short lines, often just one word, at the end of a paragraph).

I mentioned to this writer that although widows consisting of one word
are generally forbidden, if a word has four syllables or more
(installation, application, etc.), it can "legally" stay on a line by

To the best of my knowledge, I was not making up this bit of
information. In fact, I was so sure my information was correct that I
pulled out Chicago Manual of Style (13th edition, can't afford the
14th) to show the writer the "rule."

As you may have guessed, I couldn't find that rule anywhere (though it
was practiced at the publishing company where I used to work).

Does anyone know of, and adhere to, this rule, or am I crazy, spouting
off these pretend rules?

Reponses and sources of information are greatly appreciated.


P.S. Is it correct, in any situation, to say "associated to" (as
opposed to "associated with")? The above-mentioned user's guide is
riddled with "associated to," and I just can't see the reasoning
behind it. (Example: "Click on the blah blah blah to see the document
associated to the file.")

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