Word Division

Q. I’m editing a book on cross-examination. The word cross-examination occurs hundreds of times and is causing headaches for the compositor in terms of word division at the ends of lines. Can cross-examination be divided as cross-exami- or any other way? Also, is a compositor expected to know the fine points of word division? In the production chain, who normally catches word-division problems?

A. Each house has its own set of rules for composition. Compositors are expected to know the fine points of word division, but they are also expected to follow each client’s rules. While it would be better not to divide “cross-examination” anywhere except after “cross,” that is probably impossible if the word appears many times. Good typesetters are usually the best judges of when a bad break is the best choice. A proofreader can request that the break be closed up, but the result might be even uglier. You can see Chicago’s hyphenation rules on this page in CMOS Online, in figure 3.