When does a paragraph begin?

This is a simple question that Googling is not answering:

If you have a paragraph that began on a previous page and continued onto the next, does that portion count as paragraph 1 on the next page, or is the next full paragraph number 1?

See, simple, and I should know the answer. :smack:

I don’t know if it’s the official rules, but if I were told to look up the third word in the first paragraph on page 117 or whatever, I’d count the text that continued the paragraph from the previous page as the first paragraph.

In the court documents I’ve read, which reference paragraph numbers, the numbers are continuous from the beginning on the document and page breaks don’t matter. (They also number the paragraphs to make it really simple.)

As always: Depends on the client and depends on the context.

But for what it’s worth, all of my clients (mostly international agencies and assorted government bodies–almost exclusively formal texts) would consider it one paragraph. I checked with my wife who does the design end of the business and she concurs.

I would say the paragraph begins with the indent/line break, and that you should only count it when you you see a new indent/line. So the “first paragraph on page 10” would not (for me) include the half paragraph that started on page 9. It could even be that page 10 might have 0 new paragraphs if the page 9 paragraph is really long.

If it were unclear, I for one would interpret “first paragraph on page 117” to mean “first paragraph which begins on page 117.”

That’s a great point.

It’s for a Purchase Order, so language like that would be clear enough.

If you are using legal documents and have to cite paragraphs - in most cases they would be numbered (otherwise you wouldn’t normally have to cite a paragraph - page would suffice).

I would argue in other cases - in writing - you would consider the first partial paragraph on page 23 as the first paragraph - otherwise you wouldn’t have a way of citing something in the partial paragraph unless you used “paragraph 0” or “page 22 last paragraph” (which would seem weird as it would be on page 23).

If it was done orally - I might say “first full paragraph” or something else. And if done occasionally in writing I would do the same thing.

If you are having to cite something - I’d find whatever guide is used in that field and see what they say “Blue Book” for law, etc…

Or look up another document someone else wrote…

If you’re getting into POs and other contract-like documents, why not go with “first full paragraph beginning on p. 117” or something similar?

ETA: Sorry DataX–I had the tab open before you posted and didn’t see it until now.

It’s not for language included in a contract, but instead a way to clarify via email and point out specific points in a PO (while communicating across multiple languages).

So again, stating “the first full paragraph on page XX” is clear enough, or fourth full paragraph, etc.

Thanks all

I’ve been looking through a secretarial handbook from before most of you were born for a cite for my understanding that the “first paragraph” is indeed the first full paragraph. Unfortunately all I can come up with is several references to those leftover lines from the previous page being called a “continuation.”

unless you have hard coded page breaks then the pages might be fluid.

number of paragraphs in the entire document is unchanging.