[texhax] penalties

Tom Sgouros tomfool at as220.org
Thu Apr 30 20:49:56 CEST 2009

Hi All:

I've never really had to mess with penalties in all the time I've used
TeX, but now I have to, and I don't really get how to go about it.  I
have a long document (~150 pages), and there are only about four places
where the line-breaking isn't working right.  But in those places, I
don't really know what to do.  The FAQ suggests changing some penalties,
but the other 500 paragraphs look fine, and I don't want to make global
changes.  I thought I could do this:

  {\hyphenpenalty5000 Text of offending paragraph.}

But that seems to have no effect, whatever I set the value to.  The FAQ
also suggests appending "\looseness=-1" to the last word of the
paragraph, but that also has no apparent effect.  Can I change these
values locally?  Am I misunderstanding how this is to be done?

To be more specific, there are a couple of paragraphs with offending
last lines (3-letter fragments of hyphenated words), and another couple
with words that stick out into the margins.  I've already fixed all the
places where I could deal with the issue by rewording, so that's not an
option.  I'm using memoir.cls, if that makes a difference somehow.

Any advice welcome, and thanks,


 tomfool at as220 dot org

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