A hyphen is a symbol used to join two words or two syllables of a single word together. It is not to be confused with dashes or the minus symbol, as these are all longer than the hyphen and serve different purposes in language.

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103
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1answer
91k views

When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen?

I generally know how to use a hyphen, but when should I use an en-dash instead of an em-dash, or when should I use a hyphen instead of an em-dash?
66
votes
9answers
14k views

“Username”, “user name” or “user-name”

In computer science, you should have a username or a user name or a user-name and a password to be able to log into the system. Which one is the correct spelling?
63
votes
14answers
22k views

“Email” or “e-mail”?

Which way of writing the word: "Email" or "e-mail" is correct? Both variants seem to be in wide use. If both ones are okay, maybe there is a difference in contexts they have been used (one is more ...
50
votes
6answers
11k views

When is it necessary to use a hyphen in writing a compound word?

Some words are written without hyphens (nonaggression, nonbeliever), and some words are written with a hyphen (well-intentioned). Is there a schema in the use of a hyphen?
29
votes
4answers
21k views

Is it “front-end”, “frontend”, or “front end”?

Possible Duplicate: When to use a hyphen in writing a compound word Which is correct? front-end engineering frontend engineering front end engineering I looked over ...
25
votes
1answer
25k views

Do you capitalize both parts of a hyphenated word in a title?

Do you capitalize both parts of a hyphenated word in a title? "My Ex-Wife Hates Me" or "My Ex-wife Hates Me"
24
votes
6answers
14k views

Appropriate dash to use when attributing a quotation?

If I’m citing a poem or quotation, what kind of dash precedes the author’s name? Example: This Business of Printing; which I am heartily tired of, and repent I e’er attempted. . . .           ...
23
votes
7answers
2k views

Is a lengthy combination of words with hyphens like “the worst not-technically-in-a-recession year in American history” a new fashion of writing?

I found a hyphenated word , “not-technically–in-a-recession” in the sentence of September 28 New York Times’ article titled “Why Obama Is Winning,” written by co-ed columnist, Ross Douthat. It reads: ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the standard rule for using or not using hyphen and diaeresis on the words like reelect , reexamine, and cooperate?

I found that diaeresis is used on the word, reelection in the following sentence of the article titled “Rational Irrationality” in the New Yorker magazine (April 27). “This morning’s news that ...
19
votes
3answers
103k views

Co-Founder, Co-founder, or cofounder?

I've seen all three used and there doesn't seem to be a definitive one that I can find. I'm hedging towards Co-Founder as it's a title, but any clarity would be appreciated. Edit If it makes it any ...
17
votes
4answers
714 views

“Upvote” vs. “up vote” vs. “up-vote”

Should I use "upvote", "up vote", or "up-vote" on SE sites? What about "downvote"? They're not words in the sense that they're in the dictionary, but they are commonly used in this community. Also, ...
16
votes
2answers
980 views

How to connect a word and a phrase with a hyphen?

For example, "file system" and "related". Is it "file system-related"? It will appear as if it is a compound of "file" and "system-related", won't it?
15
votes
4answers
6k views

How do I hyphenate an open-form compound word with another that should be hyphenated?

I'm confused about how to combine an open-form compound word with a word that would normally be hyphenated. There's excellent guidance for making the open vs. closed vs. hyphenated decision, but I ...
13
votes
4answers
12k views

Should I use “ related” or “-related”

What is the correct use of the term "related?" For example, should I use it like computer related, or is it more proper to use computer-related (where the word "computer" is just part of my ...
13
votes
3answers
52k views

How do I properly hyphenate “well thought out”?

Is it spelled well thought-out, or well-thought out, or well thought out?
13
votes
4answers
47k views

What are the rules for splitting words at the end of a line?

What are the rules in English language to split words at the end of a line? Where exactly must the hyphen split the word?
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Is Hyphen Really the Longer – line instead of the shorter dash - line?

I had a discussion with some people today on hyphen and dashes. They had concluded that hyphen, which is used to link two connecting words (book-bag) is the longer line – instead of the shorter line ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

How can I change the tense of a hyphenated verb?

I'm certain this can't be the only example there is of a hyphenated verb, but it's the only one I can think of right now. How should one appropriately convert "mouse-over" into the past tense? ...
12
votes
5answers
8k views

Is it proper to use a colon followed immediately by a hyphen?

I have seen some writing where people have a list or a figure in writing and they will write something like this: The information is provided in Image 3:- Is that correct? Is this a British ...
12
votes
4answers
20k views

“Real time”, “real-time” or “realtime”

Which of real time, real-time and realtime is correct when you are talking about seeing something as it happens?
12
votes
4answers
72k views

Which is the correct spelling: “Granddad” or “Grand-dad” or “Grandad”?

Granddad or Grand-dad or Grandad? Which is the correct spelling?
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Using “non-” to prefix a two-word phrase

Does "non-" prefixed to a two word phrase permit another hyphen before the second word? If I want to refer to an entity which is defined as the negation of another entity by attaching "non-" it seems ...
11
votes
2answers
568 views

“Open source” as a verb

I encountered a problem when I started to write a report including some notes on open source software. The problem I have is if I can use open source as a verb like: We open sourced some ...
11
votes
1answer
841 views

Fractions as phrasal (compound) adjectives

Is there a difference between a written-out fraction that serves as a noun: He gave me one half of his sandwich. and a written-out fraction serving as an adjective: I gave her a one-half ...
10
votes
1answer
559 views

Can a hyphen be used without anything on the right side?

From this page: [...] in early parts of this century when it was the most user- and hardware-friendly Linux operating system available [...] Is the user- fragment valid (outside this ...
10
votes
3answers
6k views

“Lowercase”, “lower-case”, or “lower case”

Is it lowercase, lower-case, or lower case?
10
votes
3answers
24k views

How do you spell wifi / Wi-Fi / WiFi? [closed]

This is probably related to whether one should capitalize Internet or not. I am looking for the correct spelling of wifi when referring to a wireless connection to the Internet. I want to tell the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the use of a hyphen between “non” and an adjective strictly necessary?

Do I need to put a "-" between "non" and an adjective? As an example in physics we say "a non isolated photon", "non tight photon"... The context is very formal (paper publications and similar). Is ...
9
votes
4answers
10k views

Why does “one half” have no hyphen, but “two-thirds” does?

I often see the fraction 2/3 written with a hyphen, but I never see 1/2 written with one. Is it correct to have the hyphen in "two-thirds", and if so why don't we write "one-half"?
9
votes
2answers
619 views

Multiple hyphens in a word

Is it allowed to have multiple hyphens in one word? I want to use the word semi-self-sustaining in the sentence However, the ability to produce semi-self-sustaining stations is possessed by up ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

Which is more correct: “Plug-in” or “plugin”?

What is the correct word, plugin or plug-in? Does it depend from the context?
8
votes
2answers
354 views

Chainsaw-equipped or chainsaw equipped?

Is it chainsaw-equipped or chainsaw equipped? And with what kind of former words to use "-" properly?
8
votes
3answers
558 views

Different syllabic boundaries in various dictionaries?

Consider, for instance, the word "university": American Heritage: u·ni·ver·si·ty Collins Cobuild: uni|ver|sity Merriam Webster: uni·ver·si·ty As you see, syllabic boundaries differ. I read ...
8
votes
2answers
7k views

To hyphenate or not?

As a non-native speaker of English and an engineer by training, I always get confused about hyphenation and almost always end up referring to Google every time I need to make that decision. Does ...
8
votes
4answers
449 views

Can word-hyphenation ever be semantically significant?

I was prompted by this question (difference between ecosystem and eco-system) to wonder whether word-hyphenation can ever be semantically significant. My gut instinct is to say that since hyphenation ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Post-hyphenation of split compound words

Assuming that these two words off-topic on-topic must be hyphenated, which of the punctuations in the following sentences is correct? (crucial part emphasized) Regardless of whether it ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

Use of comma separating two adjectives

If I had the phrase two blond haired, blue eyed people would the comma be out of place? should I hyphenate "blond haired" and "blue eyed"?
8
votes
1answer
10k views

Why is it “grandfather”, but “great-uncle”?

I know that there are six forms of this word, but "great-uncle" is most common ("great-aunt" has a similar graph). Why is this, if "grandfather" and "grandmother" are common?
7
votes
4answers
552 views

When and why did the em-dash and the hyphen supplant the semicolon?

It seems to me that semicolons are rarely used today in ordinary English writing - even in newspapers and books. They appear to have been replaced, in many cases, by em-dashes and hyphens (the hyphen ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Compound Adjectives and -ed

A colleague asked me this question, and I couldn't come up with an answer that satisfied him, so I'm wondering if anyone can help: Why does a man with a short temper become a short-tempered man? In ...
7
votes
5answers
963 views

Using the “ex” prefix on a multiple word subject

What is the proper way to use the "ex" prefix to more than one word? Examples: He is an ex-school bus driver. My ex baseball coach taught me. I am an ex-Fish and Game Warden. ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Hyphenation and capitalization of “Great-Uncle” when signing books to my nephew's son

When great-uncle is used as a common noun, the hyphen and lack of caps make sense. However, when I sign a book to my nephew, is it Great-Uncle Don, Great-uncle Don, or perhaps Great Uncle Don?
6
votes
4answers
871 views

Can you outfish, out-fish, or out fish someone?

I don't even know what to Google in order to find the answer to this question. I'm trying to determine the proper grammar for outdoing someone in a particular area. For instance, in the previous ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

What do you call words that are separated by a hyphen?

What do you call words like one-note that are separated by a hyphen?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it correct to write “a 5-mm-thick layer”?

Do I need hyphens? Should I use the indefinite article or zero article?
6
votes
3answers
3k views

adding a prefix “re” to a word, with or without a hyphen?

In science we often invent words, but that doesn't mean we know how to spell them. Most of the time words are invented by adding prefixes. In that case should there be a hyphen or not? Specifically, I ...
6
votes
5answers
543 views

“object-oriented” vs “object oriented”

When should we use "object-oriented" and when "object oriented" when talking about programming? An example: Why should I start writing object oriented code? I personally think that there should ...
6
votes
5answers
263 views

Meaning of “more original computer science”

If I write Knuth has written more original computer science than anybody else does it mean computer science that is more original or more computer science that is original? It seems like it ...
6
votes
2answers
449 views

What is the difference between `-` and `--` [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use an em-dash, an en-dash, and a hyphen? Is there any difference between: - and -- or in some cases, a long dash I have seen these two used lots of ...
5
votes
1answer
428 views

How to hyphenate a negated compound noun?

We have a term for a process, "defect source assessment". We want to describe a set of processes that are not related to that process. Which of the following (if any) would be correct? non ...