The publisher requires that most of short words (shorter then 4 chars, and all the prepositions, etc.) should not be left last on the line but kept with the following word.


Following the last theorem, we
can see that ...


Following the last theorem, 
we can see that ...

Yes I can use sed to replace such spaces with ~ but that's not right a solutionas it will affect math.

P.S. We are using a standard extbook class. Thanks in advance.

  • You might also be interested in handling hyphenations.
    – Stephen
    Dec 17, 2012 at 19:26
  • Good, I just thought that there might have been some rule regarding the minimal number of letters before/after a hyphenation, in which case Egreg's linked answer would have been helpful. Anyway, maybe somebody else looking at your question can be helped by Egreg's answer to the other question.
    – Stephen
    Dec 17, 2012 at 19:48

1 Answer 1


I don't think a pure TeX solution is feasible (luatex might be possible).

If you can not accurately spot your math markup using sed/perl etc You could insert \shortwordspace rather than ~ directly and then define


so it does nothing in math mode.

  • Thanks David, I thought there is something like \shortwordpenalty for controlling that.
    – saabeilin
    Dec 17, 2012 at 15:28
  • (> luatex might be possible ) I hacked something (probably buggy) in LuaTeX :-) here Jul 9, 2017 at 16:39

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