Widows and orphans

Subject: Widows and orphans
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 14:47:37 -0500

Re. Widows and orphans:

Several "authorities" disagree about which is which, but
orphans are usually the lonely words at the end of the
paragraph whereas widows are lines that appear atop the
next column or page and are thus "divorced" (pardon the
mixed metaphor) from the rest of the paragraph.

The only good functional (reader-based) rule that I'm aware
of involves readability: single words at the ends of
paragraphs introduce a white gap when they're shorter than
the indent of the following paragraph. This gap can
introduce rivers that draw the viewer's eyes and interfere
with reading. If the word is long enough that it overlaps
the first word or two of the first sentence of the next
paragraph, it closes off the rivers and I usually leave it.
Also, too many mostly empty lines on a page introduces a
distracting pattern, and I'll try to edit my way out of
this situation too.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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