I am wondering why it is forbidden for English to have the same three letters in a row, as in Goddessship?

Why is it that words like Goddessship, frillless, beeeater, and skulllike either are hyphenated (Goddess-ship, frill-less, bee-eater, skull-like) or have one of the letters dropped (Goddesship, frilless, beeater, skullike).

Why can't they have the same three letters in a row?

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    It isn't necessarily totally forbidden. See the following dictionary entries for headmistressship; also the examples in the following related post Is “princessship” a real word? Are there any other words which have the same letter 3 times consecutively? – sumelic Sep 26 '17 at 20:57
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    Because if three were routinely used, someone would ask 'Why is it forbidden in English to have the same 4 letters in a row?' Seriously, it gets hard to read consecutive l's say. The Germans have a special way of writing sss to aid readability. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 26 '17 at 21:46
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    No one wrote down a rule when designing English to explicitly forbid triple letters. It's just not common and it's difficult to pronounce and in very different situation difficult to read. – Mitch Sep 26 '17 at 22:30
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    Forbidden? In English? Nahhhh. Who is there to forbid it? – Drew Sep 27 '17 at 1:19
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    This is soooooooooooo not a duplicate. – Araucaria Sep 27 '17 at 9:36

I don't remember where, but I read a guideline in one source that said to remove the third consecutive instance of a letter, or to use a hyphen to separate the parts in the case of a compound word, because English doesn't allow three of the same letter in a row. That seems foolish to me, amounting to inferring that such a rule must exist to explain why people rarely encounter such a thing, when in reality one rarely sees it only because it hardly ever comes up.

And, yet, we do clearly apply that rule when we put a verb that ends in "-ee" into the past tense, as in "to tree": "The barking dog treed the cat." I wonder how many people would spell it "treeed".

Yet I would write "brasssmith" for someone who works with brass, just as I write "goldsmith" and "silversmith". Others might write "brass-smith".

For what it's worth, French and Dutch have no such concern: French has "créée" ("created", feminine), and Dutch has numbers like "tweeëntachtig" = "eighty-two" ("two-and-eighty").

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    I don’t think treed (or to use a perhaps more commonly heard word, freed) are much to go by as parallels. The e in -(e)d is also frequently suppressed if there’s just one e in the root: hated, named, used, etc. The past tense marker is really just -d, with some fairly intricate rules (and exception) that determine when we add a connection -e- in spelling, and an unrelated set of rules and exceptions that determine when we add a euphonic /ə/ in speech. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 22 '18 at 19:28
  • I only know a little French and no Dutch but I notice that the French example you give has two 'Es' with acute accents and one without whilst the Dutch example has one with an umlaut. In terms of ease of reading this means that your examples only have two consecutive identical letters. Because English has no pronunciation marks like accents or umlauts we can't put three together and still make them easy to read. – BoldBen Jun 10 '18 at 12:11
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    @BoldBen That’s not an umlaut in Dutch: it’s a diaeresis. Dutch doesn’t have diacritic umlaut. A diaeresis creates a new syllable where there otherwise would not be one. It’s for splitting up the second of two vowels via an introduced hiatus that would otherwise fuse into the same syllable (so like in French or English or Spanish) rather than for mutating the existing vowel via fronting or rounding (so like in German or Hungarian), Completely different things altogether. – tchrist Sep 10 '18 at 0:09
  • @tchrist I concede to your greater knowledge. As you can tell from my use of the word umlaut I was assuming that Dutch used the mark in the same way as German. My fault for making assumptions. – BoldBen Sep 10 '18 at 19:26

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