I hesitated asking my question in Tex Exchange, but I finally opt for English Language Learners:

In LaTeX, there are commands that allow you to create sections and subsections in your document file. However, there is also a command that allows you to create subsubsections.

  • I know section and subsection are English words, but what about "subsubsection"? Is it correct English? If not, how should I write it down?
  • Does it apply to other words that starts with "subsub"?
  • Is it correct English going deeper with "subsubsubsection" etc.?

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Laws, regulations, and other legal documents are often, like LaTex documents, organized in a hierarchical system, with multiple levels of numbering. In an legal context "subsubsection" is a plausible term, and does get used. So does "subparagraph" and "subsubparagraph". However, this kind of thing can rapidly become confusing. I would suggest "a third-level section" in place of "subsubsection". This has the advantage that "a fifth-level section" is much easier to understand than "a subsubsubsubsection". The same would apply in other contexts where a text is divided into hierarchical divisions. Many texts and technical documents, far from all of which are built using LaTex, use multi-level numbering for sections so that one might speak or write of "section" (a fourth-level section). Most word-processors have commands for creating at least five or six levels of headers, and for doing multi-level numbering of sections or list items.


"Subsubsection" makes perfect sense to me. You can use this word, but whether you should use this word out of a Latex context is less clear. Documents that have deep nesting of subsections and subsubsections quickly become confusing.

In theory you could continue to "subsubsubsection" but like "great-great-great grandfather" it is already confusing and should be avoided.

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