Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Not sure when you’d use that word in print, but if you did, you’d probably have a dilemma on your hands (i.e. where to break it).
Adobe InDesign, the program we use to lay out the pages of all of the publications we publish here at Hammock, gave up immediately when I just typed the mega-word into a four-column page. Instead of helping me figure out the best place to break the word, it just made all the words in that text box disappear (Thanks, InDesign). So I’m on my own. Here’s how I would do it:

If I only had to break it once, here’s where I would probably do it:
Would you break it there, too? Have any other ideas? Probably so, and they’re probably not wrong, either. When it comes to line breaks, there are a couple things you shouldn’t do, but several right ways to do it. Talk about confusing!
Last week, Hammock editor Emily McMackin asked all the editors to get together to help her come up with a list of line-break rules for a project she was working on. Here’s what we came up with:

  • Breaks should leave more than two letters on either end of a line. (InDesign—and probably other publishing programs—can set the hyphenation rules to handle this automatically).
  • There shouldn’t be two consecutive breaks in a paragraph.
  • Avoid breaks at the very top or bottom of a column.
  • Don’t break proper nouns.
  • Never leave the second part of a broken word alone on a line by itself at the end of a paragraph.
  • You’ll know a bad one when you see it. If when reading, it stops you in your tracks, it’s probably a bad break.