Automatic hyphenation is a feature of all word processing programs used today. When this feature is on, the program consults its own dictionary to select word breaks. However, follow these tips to present a well-written, credible document.
After completing your draft of a report or business correspondence, your review should include proofreading with the following in mind:
- A hyphen may appear at the end of no more than two consecutive lines.
- The last word in a paragraph should not be broken. If the break is unavoidable, then carry the entire word to the next line.
Rules for breaking words
- Keep proper names together on the same line; and do not separate a person’s initials or an abbreviated title or part of a name (such as , Dr., III, or Jr).
The whole name should be on the same line.
- Short words (those of five letters or fewer) should not be broken.
- When possible, divide words after prefixes and at the natural breaking point for solid words (pre-cursor, lumber-yard, hand-kerchief).
- Hyphenated words should be broken only at the hyphen.
- Always check the dictionary to verify if a compound word should be hyphenated.
- Words ending in “ing” are divided on the base word (sing-ing, writ-ing), except when the final consonant is doubled to form a participle
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