TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In some circumstances, for example, B.~Alexander may result in B. Alexan-newlineder. Is this acceptable?

If not, is there an elegant way to suppress it? (\hyphenation is too cumbersome and sometimes inflexible.)

share|improve this question
Why is the usage of \hyphenation too cumbersome? I would say it is easy to just add all the name(s) in \hyphenation{Alexander} in your preamble, no? – Rabarberski Jun 4 '14 at 9:19
up vote 15 down vote accepted

Whether proper names may or should not be hyphenated is a matter of style. I found several publishing houses that discourage it, among them University of Houston. UH says their style comes from the Associated Press Stylebook (non-free).

share|improve this answer

You can use an \mbox to avoid hyphenation of the name:

share|improve this answer
Did you mean B.~\mbox{Alexander}? – J̲C̲ Apr 14 '11 at 11:13
The ~ inserts a non-breaking space between B. and Alexander. Alexander is already protected by the mbox, so the result of both variants should be the same. If you decide to define a command that typesets a person's name, you would probably put all the name's parts into one mbox anyway, as a start. – Christoph Apr 14 '11 at 11:19
@Christoph, actually, there is a difference: in \mbox{B.~Alexander} the space is set at its 'natural' width: it can't stretch or shrink along with the other spaces on the line. – Lev Bishop Apr 14 '11 at 13:15
@Christoph: those seem good if you want to avoid hyphenating names. Personally, I usually just write Lev Bishop and L.~Bishop because if a tex chooses to hyphenate a name then it is usually the least bad of the possible ways to break a line, and forcing the issue with mboxes just makes an over/underfull line. – Lev Bishop Apr 14 '11 at 13:42
@levesque: When I see a bad box appearing around such a non-hyphenated name, it was my choice to get that bad box in the first place. If it is really disturbing to the eye, I try re-phrasing the surrounding text based on the assumption (or fact) that my wording was not optimal anyway. microtype helps. – Christoph Apr 2 '12 at 19:03

You can also type \uchyph=0 to systematically prohibit the hyphenation of words beginning with an uppercase letter.

share|improve this answer
Very interesting setting. – ℝaphink Sep 19 '11 at 15:54
Good to know. Thanks! – J̲C̲ Sep 20 '11 at 4:34
Not usable in German, I'm afraid :) – clemens Nov 17 '15 at 22:55

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.