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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hyphenating Words, Part 2 – Prefixes & Suffixes

We've already talked about hyphenating compound modifiers, so this week let's focus on the rules surround hyphenating prefixes and suffixes. There are certain occasions when a hyphen is required when affixing a prefix or a suffix to a base word.

:: A hyphen is required when the base word is a proper adjective.

  • un-American
  • anti-American
  • pre-Raphaelite

:: Hyphens may be used when two words being joined would create a triple consonant.

  • bell-like

:: Hyphens are used to distinguish between homographs (words that sound the same but have different meanings).

  • re-sent vs. resent
  • re-cover vs. recover

:: In many instances, a hyphen is used when doubling a vowel. However, this is definitely one to consult a dictionary on, because there are numerous exceptions.

  • de-emphasize
  • anti-inflammatory
  • intra-articular