Alphabetical Divisions with Headings and Displayed Material – Blank Lines

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    Lynna Landroche

    I am working on a glossary for a math book that has samples, so the entry words are cell-5 headings and the samples are displayed material (Formats 21.6.5). A quick idea of the formatting follows:


    [blank line]

    Entry word(s)

    Definition in 3-1 formatting.

    [blank line]

    Displayed material

    [blank line]

    Next Entry word(s)

    Next definition in 3-1 formatting.



    This book also has alphabetic divisions (Aa).

    From my research, I have gathered that alphabetic divisions are not supposed to have blank lines before and after them (with the exception of the blank line before the first one) (Formats 21.2.3c-d). However, the displayed material needs a blank line before and after it to set it apart from the rest of the text (Formats 9.1.3, 9.2.2a) and cell-5 headings require a blank line before them except in certain, unrelated circumstances (Formats 4.5.1, Appendix C Blank Lines: Cell-5 Heading).

    So, my question is, which rules take precedence? Due to the displayed material and the cell-5 headings, would every alphabetical division need a blank line before and after it? Or would the alphabetical division guideline overrule one or both of the other two guidelines?

    A similar question was asked on August 13, 2013 (link:, but that was over 10 years ago, and before our current formatting guidelines, so I am wondering if there is an updated view.

    Thank you in advance for your time and help.


    It would be helpful to see a picture of a few entries from the material in question. Without seeing it, your formatting seems good. If the displayed material is math (rather than just text) and you are working in UEB with Nemeth, no blank line is required before and after it.

    Alphabetic divisions don't require blank lines, but a cell 5 heading requires a blank line before it so there would need to be a blank line between an alphabetic division and a cell 5 heading.


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