Re: widows and orphans

Subject: Re: widows and orphans
From: Iain Harrison <iharrison -at- SCT -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 09:33:09 GMT

I don't dispute that this book says so, but I do dispute that this is
correct. Here in the UK, one of the best-selling fiction authors is Jeffery
Archer, and he has to be the worst writer I've even come across. Being
popular doesn't make you good, or correct!

Widows and orphans ARE the single lines of text at the wrong side of a page
break. I think the Widow is the single first line of a paragraph at the end
of a page, and an orphan is the single last line of a paragraph at the
beginning of a page, but it may be the other way round.

The short measure lines that 'Looking Good' calls a widow may have a name,
but I don't know what it is. It isn't a widow AFAIK.

I also dispute that a short line at the end of a paragraph is a bad thing to
be avoided at all costs. They can often give a heavy page a feel of
lightness, and in addition, they can make the typesetter's life easier when
copyfitting - getting a short line up into the preceding lines is easier that
losing a long line!


From one of the best-selling books on desktop publishing, "Looking Good in
Print," here are some definitions:

"A widow is a syllable, word, or less than 1/3 of a line isolated at the bottom
of a column, paragraph, or page."

"An orphan is a word or short phrase isolated at the top of a column or page."

I never knew there was a difference until I read this book! :) It does
recommend that you avoid them at all costs.



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