When creating hyphenated words is there a limit to how many hyphens you can use? I've rarely seen examples exceeding word-word-word, and I'm wondering if this is because it's rare that one would need to go beyond that point, or if there is an imposed limit of some kind.

For example, would word-word-word-word-word-word-word-word-word-word be acceptable, assuming the words used qualified for hyphenation?

  • 5
    Is there a limit? I guess you're not familiar with the English-really-doesn't-have-strict-numerical-limits-on-anything rule of thumb.
    – J.R.
    Jul 2 '14 at 1:39

There's no hard limit, but word-word-word-word-word-word-word-word-word-word is pretty silly. Although there's no rule of grammar preventing you from writing something like this, it's rarely appropriate and never necessary.

Use your common sense—if it looks hard to read, it probably is! If you find yourself writing something like the above, consider rephrasing.


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