As far as I've seen, it seems like whether or not one should use suspended hyphens is determined on a mostly ad-hoc basis. So, I was wondering if someone could give me advice on whether or not the following usage is OK:

Our system uses four triaxial accelerometers, so each outputs an x-, y-, and z-acceleration.

  • How do you mean, "a mostly ad-hoc basis"? There's a very clear and simple rule.
    – RegDwigнt
    Aug 19, 2015 at 10:34
  • I wouldn't use these suspended hyphens, but I would use italics for the three variable names (but not for "acceleration"). Aug 19, 2015 at 12:33
  • There is no rule in English for this. You should follow the conventions established for your particular science,
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 11, 2016 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


Whilst I believe that the usage in this example is appropriate, I would also like to play devil's advocate in questioning whether the usage is even required.

In this example, the variations of acceleration direction could be restated as follows

Our system uses four triaxial accelerometers, so each outputs a 3-dimensional vector in Cartesian coordinate space.

Given that I don't know the context of the example, I am unsure whether the more technical details are correct, but I believe the concept is correct.

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