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How is parameter(s) hyphenated in UK English?

   pa-ram-e-ter (Merriam-Webster)
or pa-rame-ter  (Word XP)
or para-met-er  (TCItex)
or para-meter   (OAL Dictionary)
or pa-ra-me-ter (seems to bee the hyphenation of Parameter in German)
or pa-ra-m-e-t-er (combination of all possible locations for hyphenations)
or some other way?

Is there a difference for parameters? I know that there are rules about the minimum number of letters before the first hyphenation (two letters) and after the last hyphenation (three letters), but those don't appear to be strict rules but more like a recommendation. Or do they prohibit something like "paramet-er" and allow "paramet-ers" (regardless of the hyphenation being right or wrong otherwise)?

As there are differences between US and UK English also regarding hyphenation, please point out if US hyphenation of parameter(s) is different. (I don't need it, but the information might be useful for somebody else.)

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In the interest of text formatting? Break on a syllable. – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Apr 4 '12 at 18:47
@cornbreadninja That doesn't indicate whether the hyphen comes before or after the t or the first r (for example). – Andrew Leach Apr 4 '12 at 19:39
@AndrewLeach, that was my attempt to make sense of what OP is asking, as parameter is not a normally-hyphenated construction on its own. – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Apr 4 '12 at 19:43
@cornbreadninja, But it might be hyphenated at the end of a line, which is what I guess the OP is asking about. Of course, he may not be... – Andrew Leach Apr 4 '12 at 19:52
As with balaclava and prerequisite, these are matters of typesetting. I think typesetting is off-topic here on ELU, so I'm voting to close them all. – FumbleFingers Apr 4 '12 at 20:08
up vote 2 down vote accepted

As Cornbread says, break on syllable boundaries.

In general, if there are two consonants in a row, you can break between those consonants. So you would break "barter" as "bar-ter", or "inventive" as "in-ven-tive".

If there is a single consonant surround by vowels, break before the consonant. So "customer" is "cus-to-mer".

When there are multiple consonants that make a single sound, like "pl" in "template", you must keep these two letters together. So you could hyphenate that as "tem-plate".

When a suffix like "-ed" or "-ing" or "-en" is added to a word, the break usually comes before the suffix, even when this violates one of the above rules. So "thinking" is "think-ing", not "thin-king".

So "parameter" can be broken "pa-ra-me-ter".

There are many special cases and exceptions. This is what keeps English lively.

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That is the breaking I would have guessed, but with the different breaking points in the references I feared to be wrong. Thus it is now "pa-ra-me-ter" for me. Thanks, +1 and accepted. – Stephen Apr 5 '12 at 18:00

Some more confusion to this. Oxford on-line dictionary lists the following hyphenation:


I couldn't figure out if there is a difference between | or ¦. In doubt, I will stick to the Merrian-Webster hyphenation.

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“|” indicates a recommended hyphenation. “¦” indicates a possible, but not recommended hyphenation. Suggesting that the asker stick to Merriam-Webster (which is American) is hardly useful in a question that specifically states that UK English is needed. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 10 '14 at 9:15

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