Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
TalencentrumOnderdeel van Rijksuniversiteit Groningen

Talencentrum

Express yourself <> understand the world
TalencentrumVertalen en corrigerenStyle GuidePunctuationHyphen

Examples

HYPHENS (See dictionary for rules on compound words)

Duplicate letters

Use a hyphen to divide duplicate letters (double vowels or consonants make the word hard to recognize):

anti-icing device

re-enter

ex-directory

anti-intellectual

quasi-scientific

pre-eminent

semi-invalid

 

Prefixes

Use hyphens to avoid confusion when a prefix is repeated:

re-release

sub-subcategory

 

or to avoid confusion with another word form:

re-form

re-cover

re-sign

re-creation

un-ionized

But: the prefix mis- needs no hyphen, even before another s:

misshapen

misspelling

 

Numbers

Use hyphens in spelt-out numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine:

twenty-nine

thirty-four

four hundred and sixty-eight

fifty-three thousand

and in fractions, unless the numerator and denominator are already hyphenated:

one-half

two-thirds

three thirty-seconds

four and five-eighths

 

Scientific terms

Scientific terms tend not to be hyphenated in technical contexts (where the meaning is clear):

liquid crystal display

wavenumber

spacetime

sodium chloride solution

 

With modifiers

Do not use hyphens in compound adjectives beginning with an adverb ending in –ly, too, very, or much:

thoughtfully presented thesis

very contrived plot

too hasty judgment

much maligned performance

 

Do not use hyphens in familiar unhyphenated compound terms, such as high school or social security, when they appear before nouns as modifiers:

social security tax

high school reunion

 

Compound modifiers following a noun usually do not need hyphens:

a table of stainless steel

an agreement of long standing

the records are not up to date

 

But do use a hyphen when two or more modifiers precede and modify a noun:

a stainless-steel table

a long-standing agreement

the up-to-date records

 

 

In general, do not use hyphens after prefixes (e.g. anti-, co-, multi-, non-, over-, post-, pre-, etc.).

However, use a hyphen following a prefix before a capital letter, a numeral, or a date:

post-Victorian

anti-Darwinian

pseudo-scientific

Sino-Soviet

mid-August

pre-1990s

 

Compass points:

The names of compass points are hyphenated:

south-east

south-by-southeast

South-East Asia

But the names of winds are not hyphenated:

southeaster

northwester

 

Other uses:

Use hyphens to indicate an omitted common element in a series:

three- and six-cylinder models

upper-, middle- and lower-class areas

countrywomen and –men

Laatst gewijzigd:15 september 2017 21:00