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Hyphenation

Sometimes we need to split (break) a word at the end of a line, for example:

The directors requested that a more conven-
ient
time be arranged.

In the above example we have split the word "convenient". We have done this by inserting a hyphen (-) between "conven" and "ient". We have hyphenated "convenient".

In such cases, it is important to insert the hyphen in an appropriate position, that is, between syllables.

Since we insert the hyphen between syllables, it follows that we cannot hyphenate a single-syllable word.

We cannot hyphenate the single-syllable word "friend", for example, but we can hyphenate the three-syllable word "convenient" as "con-venient" or "conven-ient".

Understanding Syllables

To hyphenate correctly, it helps to understand syllables. Every word is made from syllables. Each word has one, two, three or more syllables, as shown in the following chart.

wordnumber of syllables
dogdog1
greengreen1
quitequite1
quietqui·et2
orangeor·ange2
tableta·ble2
convenientcon·ve·nient3
expensiveex·pen·sive3
interestingin·ter·est·ing4
realityre·al·i·ty4
unexceptionalun·ex·cep·tion·al5

Notice that (with a few rare exceptions) every syllable contains at least one vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or vowel sound.

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