What is the correct syllabification of the word "eliminate"?

What is the Authoritative Source for syllabification?

Just in case it is needed, the word is used in the sentence:

To allow more ef|fi|cient usage of paper, more reg|u|lar ap|pear|ance of right-side mar|gins with|out re|quir|ing spac|ing ad|just|ments, and to elim|i|nate the need to erase hand-writ|ten long words begun near the end of a line that do not fit, words may be di|vided at the near|est break|point be|tween syl|la|bles and a hy|phen in|serted to in|di|cate that the let|ters form a word frag|ment, not a word.

from a test case on the automatic hyphenation tool found [here][3]

Sorry if my question is too simple, English is not my first language.

  • The dictionaries you refer to are showing the way the word is pronounced. I'd go with the AHDEL (or Collins or Webster's) version; you need to get to know how their pronunciation indications work, or better, hear the word pronounced correctly. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 8 '14 at 19:58
  • Maybe my question is wrong. I'm actually looking for the syllable division of the word. I'm not sure if it is equivalent to the hyphenation. – Ezequiel Apr 8 '14 at 20:05
  • When hyphenating, you usually want to avoid stranding single letters on a line. There's also some consideration given to avoiding misleading fragments at the end of a line. – Bradd Szonye Apr 8 '14 at 20:07
  • 1
    Syllable division and hyphenation aren't quite the same, for the reason I mention above. Best to clarify the question. (Asking about syllabification might be too simple, but you could easily make the question interesting by asking about the difference between syllables and hyphenation. Or asking about dictionary notation.) – Bradd Szonye Apr 8 '14 at 20:07
  • Yes, sorry. I rewrote the question to be about syllabification, as that is what I need. If I understand correctly, the answer would be "the authoritative source is any dictionary, each having its notation to indicate syllabification" – Ezequiel Apr 8 '14 at 20:18

There is an inherent problem with your question:

  1. There is no authority that decides the syllabification of any words. (Or anything else in the English language for that matter.)

  2. Syllabification differs from pronunciation in English (which can vary by accent), making it challenging to decide the natural point to break a word.

For example:

In the Northeastern United States: El-im-in-ate or E-lim-in-ate. (Both without a strong stress on any one syllable.)

In the Southern United States: E-lim-in-ate would be the norm. And the accent would be strongly on the first syllable (possibly with a long E).

Neither of these pronunciations determines the proper way to syllabify the word. Rather you would do so on the basis of the orthography and morphemes of the word itself.

If you are merely looking to break words at the end of lines for paper conservation, modern word processing has largely eliminated the need to do so. Spacing and kerning have overtaken syllabification as the preferred method.

| improve this answer | |
  • I actually need to determine the proper way to syllabify a word, not to break words at the end of lines. Your answer, however, gives me much insight. – Ezequiel Apr 9 '14 at 21:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.