Found in poems in this justification style words that didn't quite make it onto a line but are still part of a logical line (verse) are put below but aligned differently (aligned to the side where the line ends):

This verse line is too long but the last word still   |
                                             belongs. |
Another verse would begin on the left side again.     |

Example of strange justification.

What is this justification style called?

  • Don't think we have a name for this. Not in a design sense anyway, but writers might have their own terms for these things.
    – Lucian
    Mar 9, 2017 at 19:45

3 Answers 3


"Technically" it is "aligned left with last line aligned right." From what I have researched, there is not a more specific name for it. There is a button in InDesign for "justified with last line aligned right." But what you have pictured is ragged right, not justified.


"Right runt," or "right-aligned runt."

There is a GREP style to prevent runts in left-aligned paragraphs — http://www.brennenreece.com/blog/fixing-runts-in-indesign-using-grep – but I'm not aware of any method to insert a right-align tab automatically before a runt, which would create the format you wish.

The general idea would be to replace the "whitespace before the runt" with a right-align tab. Easily done manually, but might be time-consuming if your text is long.

One concern would be whether you have any lines in which more than a single word exceeds your line measure (there's not one in your sample image, but there could be elsewhere). In that case, the paradigm would be to replace the "first whitespace beyond the line measure" with a right-align tab.

  • 1
    Widows and orphans are single lines separated from a paragraph. Runts are single words separated from a line.
    – q23.us
    Mar 16, 2017 at 18:41
  • I think it does answer the question. I don't know what you'd prefer over "right runt." It seems succinct & unambiguous. "Runt" implies at least a whole line; "right runt" implies the rest of the line is not-right. Maybe "left w/right runt" would distinguish it from "center w/right runt"? I think we assume prose & verse usually left, so specifying the leftness of line/paragraph seems redundant. Another user proposed "aligned left with last line aligned right," but seems a mouthful to me.
    – q23.us
    Mar 16, 2017 at 18:49
  • The term for the short single word separation does not answer the question being asked - that of the justification style that has these on the right side. Maybe "left justified with right aligned runt" would be correct? Mar 16, 2017 at 18:50

In French Poetry, specific case is called a "vers sur-long". Which basically translates as "overlong verse".

As far as I know, the related composition rule has no specific name, but is probably different in every country. For example, in French, "returned" words must be preceded by a opening square bracket. They usually (and obviously) are placed below but can be placed above, if next verse is too long.

If the poem is isometric, hypermetrical and hypercatalectic verses should be composed that way, even if page is large enough, in order to keep the right number of syllables in one line. Again, these are French rules and might be different in your country.

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