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How do you hyphenate the word 'branches'? I'm intrigued between branch·es and bran·ches.

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    /bræn-ʃəz/. Or you could hyphenate between C and H. Hyphenation is not yet an exact science. – John Lawler Jun 10 '14 at 21:13
  • branch·es isn’t very good hyphenation practice as far as I know it, since branch is also a word. – Ry- Jun 10 '14 at 23:01
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    @minitech: Of course, bran is also a word, so by that token bran-ches would also be ruled out. I have never before heard of this practice for hyphenation; do you have a reference? – Nate Eldredge Jun 11 '14 at 15:08
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I wouldn't.

It is only eight letters long, and is the produced plural of a word that is only six letters long, monosyllabic and from a single root, without suffix or prefix or compound parts.

As such, I'd move the entire word onto the next line, even when space was limited.

I note that Merriam Webster and Oxford Dictionaries, two dictionaries that contain hyphenation advice, both suggest that branch has no hyphenation opportunities. Branches of course only adds the -es of the plural, and one would never hyphenate at that point if at all avoidable.

If space was extremely limited, then such an unusual typographic situation would make this a matter of graphic design rather than normal typography, so the exact opposite would apply; I'd hyphenate it whichever way worked best visually with the rest of the graphic design. (In theory anyway, I'm not very skilled in such matters).

If I had a gun to my head and had to hyphenate the word as best I could, I'd probably do so as bran·ches to match the syllables and to avoid breaking on the -es, but I wouldn't be happy with it.

  • Merrian-Webster hyphenates punch-ing bag after the "ch". So presumably the correct hyphenation would be branch-es, which isn't a good idea since -es is only two letters. – Peter Shor May 23 at 11:27

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