What does the term "seven book-length story" mean.

It is planned that seven book-length stories by well-known writers shall follow the present book [etc.]

  • 9
    The proper parsing is "seven [book-length [stories]]". In other words "seven stories, each of which is the length of a book".
    – YonKuma
    Commented Jun 11 at 18:22
  • 7
    This is an example of how that hyphen can be helpful. It keeps us from, as we read, thinking that we're talking about the length of seven books. It shows that "book-length" is to be treated as a single adjective. Commented Jun 11 at 19:28

1 Answer 1


Your question should be asked like this:

What does the phrase "seven book-length stories" mean?

It means seven stories, each story as long as a book.

  • Like six metre-length pieces of string? Commented Jun 11 at 22:05
  • 5
    @MichaelHarvey Call me dim but are you suggesting the punctuation in "seven book-length stories" is errant? I would say six metre-length strings suggest six pieces of string, each a metre long whereas six-metre-length strings are an unspecified number of strings that are each six metres long. I wouldn't join "seven" and "book" with a hyphen, the punctuation is perfect in this instance.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 12 at 6:17
  • @Mari-LouA - I don't understand the reason for your post; I only offered a further example, correctly punctuated. In any case, if I heard someone say 'I wrote seven book length stories last week' common sense says that there should be only one hyphen, and that it goes between 'book' and 'length'. Commented Jun 12 at 8:47
  • 1
    @MichaelHarvey then why the question mark? It was as if you were saying the punctuation was perhaps incorrect. If it was only an example, using a hyphen to disambiguate it wasn't clear. By all means, call me Dim.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 12 at 9:36
  • 3
    @Mari-LouA - you're reading way too much into a question mark. Commented Jun 12 at 9:53

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