Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading
Q. Consistent with CMOS 2.10, our office does not use full justification for typed materials. Some of my colleagues go a step further to avoid hyphenation across lines, which they believe is distracting to the reader, and use only nonbreaking hyphens. I can’t find any support for this in CMOS (or elsewhere). It seems to me that it could cause the “exceedingly uneven lines” that CMOS 7.47 speaks of (for example, in the event of a several-words-long phrasal adjective). So please settle our debate: should we ordinarily use nonbreaking hyphens, or is it just fine for hyphenated terms to break across ragged-margin lines?
A. CMOS 2.13 (17th ed.) reveals all! “Do not worry if such a hyphen happens to fall at the end of a line or if the right-hand margin is extremely ragged.”