How do I avoid the hyphenation ladder effect in XeLaTeX?

Consider the following as an example...

I want to hyphe-

nate this senten-

ce, but the pre-

ple lines suc-

cessively hyphe-

nated or even more than that, is just too much for my poor eyes.

• If you're typesetting in narrow columns, hyphens are unavoidable. – egreg Dec 3 '14 at 13:16
• If you don't want to hyphenate you have to allow latex do do something instead, eg \raggedright – David Carlisle Dec 3 '14 at 13:18
• @McGafter Maybe you can switch to LuaLaTeX and try \usepackage{microtype}. You might be lucky with this. – LaRiFaRi Dec 3 '14 at 13:36
• you could try increasing the value of \doublehyphendemerits. in knuth's gkpmac.tex, it's set to 100000; latex sets it to only 10000. but the suggestion to use microtype is a good one; it should work with pdflatex as well. – barbara beeton Dec 3 '14 at 13:43
• Have you modified the value of \righthyphenmin? The reason I ask is that you report the hyphenation point senten-ce occurring. This is not only wrong, it can only happen if you or one of the packages you load have modified the parameter \righthyphenmin. – Mico Dec 3 '14 at 16:03

Just load microtype and see, if it helps:

% xelatex

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{polyglossia}
\setdefaultlanguage{english}
\setlength{\textwidth}{6.3em}
\setlength{\parindent}{0em}
%\usepackage{microtype}

\begin{document}
I want to hyphenate this sentence, but the presence of quadruple lines successively hyphenated
\end{document}


Without:

With:

The only way I could get that many hyphens in that text is to force tex to prefer them, this shows various alternative settings

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{ragged2e}
\begin{document}

\def\t{I want to hyphenate this sentence, but the presence of quadruple lines successively hyphenated}

\noindent\mbox{\vrule\
\begin{minipage}[t]{3.1cm}
\hyphenpenalty=-500
\t
\end{minipage}\ \vrule\
\begin{minipage}[t]{3.1cm}
%\hyphenpenalty=-500
\t
\end{minipage}\ \vrule\
\begin{minipage}[t]{3.1cm}
\raggedright
\t
\end{minipage}\ \vrule\
\begin{minipage}[t]{3.1cm}
\RaggedRight
\t
\end{minipage}\ \vrule}

\end{document}