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Consider the word quasi-first-class. Are the hyphens used correctly? Should the two hyphens be of different length to denote the distinction of the hyphenation? Is there a general rule to deal with such doubly hyphenated words?

This tells me that I should avoid an en dash in this case.

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Do you mean that because quasi-first-class is only a quasi-word (whereas first-class is a real one) the first hyphen should be written differently? I can't really believe it's only a quasi-hyphen. – FumbleFingers Jul 16 '11 at 22:52
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Wikipedia recommends two hyphens, and no en-dash or em-dash:

An exception to the use of en dashes is made however when prefixing an already hyphenated compound; an en dash is generally avoided as a distraction in this case. Examples of this may include:

  • non-English-speaking air traffic controllers
  • semi-labor-intensive industries
  • Proto-Indo-European language (rarely Proto–Indo-European)
  • The post-MS-DOS era (rarely post–MS-DOS)
  • non-government-owned corporations

It cites Amy Einsohn's The copyeditor's handbook; page 109.

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