Word Division

Q. Does CMOS have recommendations for how to divide a mailing address in running text? For example, “You can visit the artist’s childhood home at 123 Central Avenue.” Is it permissible to end with “123” on one line and begin the next with “Central Avenue”? Or should “123” be moved down to the next line?

A. Chicago permits breaking a line at a space in almost all cases, with a few notable exceptions:

  • before and after the middle of three dots in an ellipsis: . . .
  • between an ellipsis and a mark of punctuation that follows: . . . ?
  • between contiguous quotation marks or apostrophes: “ ‘like this’ ”
  • between consecutive initials in a personal name: P. G. Wodehouse

In all such cases, a nonbreaking space may be used to prevent the break (see CMOS 6.121).

It’s also advisable to avoid a break between a numeral and an abbreviated unit of measurement (3 m); after a parenthetical enumerator like “(1)” or “(a)” in a run-in list; before (but not after) a middle initial; and before “Jr.” or “Sr.” or “II,” “III,” and the like at the end of a name. But with the exception of ellipses and quotation marks or apostrophes, preventing such breaks isn’t usually a priority online. In print, where the breaks become permanent, more fine-tuning may be appropriate (see CMOS 6.120).

But no intervention is necessary after a number in a street address.