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

  • 3
    /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
  • 1
    @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

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

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.