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I'm aware of the general rules for using hyphens in compound nouns, but I'm baffled by the correct use of hyphens in the compound noun 'system model driven approach'. This is a specialty term in computer science and is interpreted as "approach, that is driven, by system models (compound noun)".

My manuscript editor wants to typeset this 4-word noun as "system model-driven approach" but my eyes tell me it's wrong because I read it as "system {model driven} approach" whereas what needs to be communicated is "{system model} driven approach".

I've tried to check this from some available style guides but can't find good guidance. So the question is which one of these alternatives is best, or are all these wrong?

  • system model driven approach
  • system-model driven approach
  • system-model-driven approach
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marked as duplicate by F'x, MrHen, RegDwigнt Apr 29 '11 at 17:49

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