Friday, June 27, 2014

Know When to Use A Hyphen in Compound Words


There are  several types of compound words:

1    1. Single word, no hyphens
           hindsight, babysit, baseball, kindercare, background, antebellum, carpetbagger
2. Do not use a hyphen unless it serves a purpose. If a compound adjective cannot be misread  
    and its meaning is recognized, do not use a hyphen:

            high school curriculum
            health care reform
            day treatment program
            play date
            grade point average
3. Hyphenated words acting as adjectives before a noun they modify if the term can be 
    misunderstood or if the term expresses a single thought:
            well-baby exam
            able-bodied man
            three-legged race
            well-intended plan
            triangle-shaped house
4.  Compounds in which the base word is a proper noun or is                             
           a number: post-2001
           an abbreviation: pre-NALP trial
           capitalized: pro-British, German-speaking Austrians
           more than one word: non-qualifying-senior students

5. All "self-" compounds whether they are adjectives or nouns:

            the test was self-paced
            self-centered actor

6. Words that could be misunderstood:

            re-pair [pair again]
            re-form [form again]
            re-construction plans
            re-enact the murder

7. Words in which the prefix ends and the base word begins with the same vowel:

8. Use a hyphen to join a word to a past participle to create single objective preceding the noun 
     it modifies. If a compound adjective follows the term, do not use a hyphen, because 
     relationships are sufficiently clear without one:

well-intended plan; the plan was well intended
            hand-iron-shaped mark; the mark was in the shape of an hand iron
            same-sex children; children of the same sex

9. Write most words formed with prefixes as one word:


10. When two or more compound modifiers act together, the hyphens are retained in all    
       except the last modifier:

            long- and short-term memory
            2-, 3-, and 10-min trials
            pre- and post-war crimes
            red-, yellow- and green-tinged hues appear

11. Do not hyphenate compound words that end in “-ly” even if they precede a noun:

          fully developed plan
          heavily fortified troops
          stringently enforced rules
          accurately reported data word

12. When splitting a multiple syllable word at the end of a sentence. Split the word after a 

         I wrote the illustrated, minia-
         ture book in six months.
         He fished until his sun-     
         burned head hurt too much.
         Mary hurried through her college appli-

(adapted from the sixth edition of the APA Publication Manual, 2010)

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