I have always heard it is best to tear lettuce into bite size pieces rather than cut it with a knife. Tearing it will break the bonds between the cells, making for less water loss. Cutting lettuce slices through cells, allowing the water to escape. I have also heard that cutting lettuce (especially with a metal knife) will cause it to turn brown more rapidly, possibly due to a chemical reaction between the metal and the lettuce.
It is much better if you tear it into the desired size. Some also prefer to tear the green leafy parts off the center rib, as the rib can be a little tough. Bite-size pieces are usually around one inch in diameter so they are easy to fork up and don't have to be folded to get them in your mouth.
Edit: I cut about 15 heads of romaine a day where I work and I'll tell you preservation is not a problem if you buy fresh, store chilled and eat it in a reasonable amount of time. Even after being cut it's not uncommon for romaine to be fine into the third day if you just don't abuse it with hot or cold temperatures. The trick is just to cut what you want, and eat what's left tomorrow, you'll be fine. Also, I cut Romaine with a Zwilling Henckels 9 1/2in bread knife, and I have to say that if the lettuce is washed and spun after cutting then it really shouldn't matter. By the time you're seeing browning on the edges, that lettuce is going to be altogether past its prime anyway. The most important part there is spinning! Spin the heck of out of that lettuce.
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