Recently I was given a task to check and correct design on catalogues in eleven languages. Unfortunately noone cares how the text is formatted, so now I'm trying to collect rules for each language which could help me make the text look good to the readers.

I was able to find information on footnotes, spaces, abbreviations etc but couldn't find any info about words that can't remain at the end of each line. I know there are one-letter words in Polish, Czech and Slovakian but what about other languages? For example, in Spanish there's a one letter word y and I spent whole day looking for any rules regarding this and couldn't find any (I've checked Chicago Manual of Style, Manual de diseño editorial and uncle google).

What about der, die and das in German? A, an and the in English? Portugese? Norwegian? Russian? If you could point me in the right direction, that would be greatly appreciated...

  • Working with all European languages I made a new rule. No break space after everything shorter than 3 letters. Much faster and for 2 years no native speakers complained. – SZCZERZO KŁY Nov 19 '18 at 13:48

I can just give you a clue for Spanish:

  • Avoid one or two syllables prepositions at the end of a test line. The Spanish prepositions are:

a, ante, bajo, cabe, con, contra, de, desde, durante, en, entre, hacia, hasta, mediante, para, por, según, sin, so, sobre, tras.

  • For the rest of the words, one, two or three syllables, everything is correct:

Estuve en tu casa esta mañana y

me encontré a tu hermana en la

puerta con su nuevo vestido que

compró en las rebajas

  • Avoid word hyphenation on the first syllable, I think this is in every language
  • Avoid word repetition at the end or beginning of a text line

Los sólidos recuerdos que aún tengo de

las vacaciones de verano en la costa de

las tortugas me produjo una gran alegría


I am working with a publisher that does every item in 16-18 languages, including those listed in your question. We get these fixes every time, the trouble is it is hard to know these rules yourself, this client has local translators for each language and they make manual comments on what should be moved to the next line.

Having revised this type of comments for a long time, i've learnt to anticipate some things, but still could not do this myself accurately, it takes a native to know these things.

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