I'm trying to hyphenate a chemical name and have come into difficulty. The word I'm trying to hyphenate is poly(ethyeneglycol).

I'm using babel and inputenc. I've tried specifying a custom hyphenation pattern using \hyphenation{poly(ethylene-glycol)} but it fails to complete.

Being chemistry terminology I wondered if this was dealt with by a chemistry package such as mhchem but have not found a package that does it.

  • I have noticed all your words "hyphenate" were missing the h, including the command \hyphenation{poly(ethylene-glycol)}. I corrected them all in your question, but perhaps your code needs to be corrected as well? Maybe is just a misspelling problem?
    – Vivi
    Jun 13, 2012 at 16:19
  • 2
    Have you looked at bpchem and the \IUPAC macro?
    – Joseph Wright
    Jun 13, 2012 at 16:23
  • Hi Joseph, the IUPAC macro didn't seem to do anything to it. Thanks everyone.
    – Darling
    Jun 14, 2012 at 10:14

1 Answer 1


Techically, ( and ) are not letters, so they won't participate to hyphenation. You can make them acceptable with the following trick, which should have no adverse effect with normal input:


A different strategy could be to define a macro:

\hyphenation{ethylene-glycol} % TeX incorrectly hyphenates this word

and use


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