There was a discussion with my colleagues about a paper that I am currently writing and in which I use phrases like "a high-reliable system architecture". Some of my colleagues hold the view that this is wrong and "a highly reliable system architecture" should be used instead, while others think that the first version is fine, too.

Is the first variant correct?


It should be highly reliable.

Reliable is an adjective which is modified by highly. Adverbs ending in -ly do not take hyphens.

highly [adverb indicating the level of reliability]
reliable [adjective describing system architecture]

You would use a hyphen if speaking of a high-maintenance system architecture:

high [adjective describing maintenance]
maintenance [noun]
high-maintenance [compound adjective describing system architecture]

Without the hyphen or -ly ending you would have a high meaning tall/up in the air.

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    In case it is not clear to the OP, I would suggest high-reliability to classify a system which is highly reliable. – choster Apr 6 '14 at 14:59
  • It can also be 'high-reliability system architecture'. – Ram Pillai Mar 2 at 9:35
  • Perhaps you are writing about a system of high availability, a set term. That architecture uses redundancy for the sake of fault tolerance. If so, just use the same set term every time without variation. Who knew that redundant is a good thing? In this case, the duplication is a small price to pay for the protection it guarantees. – Yosef Baskin Apr 6 at 20:33

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