Online Laboratory Magazine


End-of-line hyphenation of chemical names

Chemical names and in particular systematic chemical names can be so long that, when a manuscript is printed, they have to be hyphenated/divided at the end of a line. Many systematic names already contain hyphens, but sometimes not in a suitable division position. In some cases, using these hyphens as end-of-line divisions can lead to illogical divisions in print, as can also happen when hyphens are added arbitrarily without considering the 'chemical' context.

The present document provides recommendations and guidelines for authors of chemical manuscripts, their publishers and editors, on where to divide chemical names at the end of a line and instructions on how to avoid these names being divided at illogical places as often suggested by desk dictionaries. Instead, readability and chemical sense should prevail when authors insert optional hyphens.

Accordingly, the software used to convert electronic manuscripts to print can now be programmed to avoid illogical end-of-line hyphenation and thereby save the author much time and annoyance when proofreading. The recommendations also allow readers of the printed article to determine which end-of-line hyphens are an integral part of the name and should not be deleted when 'undividing' the name. These recommendations may also prove useful in languages other than English.

Provisional Recommendations are drafts of IUPAC recommendations on terminology, nomenclature, and symbols, made widely available to allow interested parties to comment before the recommendations are finally revised and published in IUPAC's journal Pure and Applied Chemistry.

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Source: IUPAC