Those prefixes "Anti", "bi" etc would look odd as separate words, but then, even complete words like "country" or "state" ending with a dangling hyphen look odd. So what is the correct rule for this? Should I play safe and use it like "Anti-American and pro-American"? Please suggest the correct way to do it. Wikipedia article on English hyphens was of little help over this.

  • @tchrist english.stackexchange.com/questions/27707/… – Kris Jun 8 '14 at 9:41
  • Perhaps, can be merged with the earlier Q. cited by @tchrist. – Kris Jun 8 '14 at 11:03
  • It's definitely a duplicate question, though I find Kris' answer here superior to the accepted answer there. – Jon Hanna Jun 8 '14 at 11:34
  • @JonHanna Reading Kris's answer, I am glad I didn't delete my question. Anyways, tchrist's link was helpful – Newbie Jun 8 '14 at 11:54
  • Anti- and pro-American
  • bi- and tri-monthly
  • country- and state-specific

"Ending with a dangling hyphen" need not look odd, it serves an important purpose, of signaling a shared prefix.

Country and state specific could be country-and-state specific or country-specific and state-specific or country and state-specific (the last instance, when the suffix applies only to the second and not shared.)


  • Thanks!The "country-and-state specific" part is completely new to me, especially because there is no hyphen before specific. Also, I had the impression that the last instance ("country and state-specific") is wrong. I stand corrected. But I would really appreciate if you can explain briefly why it is correct. Can you give some more examples of the same so that I can understand the underlying rule behind it? Irrespective, your present answer nails it!! – Newbie Jun 8 '14 at 11:50

You can skip the first hyphen because the second one does the work:

Anti and Pro-American

Bi and Tri-Monthly

Country and State-Specific (Although I'm not really sure why this needs a hyphen at all...)

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