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I am a mathematics professor and not a professional editor. But a mathematics manuscript has come to me for editing.

I see clearly that the phrase "C semigroup" needs an hyphen and I have inserted it. (Here C is some adjective denoting a special kind of semigroup).

But I don't know how to hyphenate "C contraction semigroup". Here the noun contraction seem to be working as an adjective.

I would be grateful to any sound suggestion.

closed as primarily opinion-based by curiousdannii, Mitch, NVZ, user66974, BladorthinTheGrey Dec 7 '16 at 16:50

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    The journal should have a style guide you can refer to. If it doesn't then do whichever you prefer, there are no objective punctuation rules. – curiousdannii Dec 7 '16 at 8:22
  • If C-contraction is a type of semigroup, then no hyphen would seem to be necessary, though C-contraction-semigroup would be clearer as a modifier. As curiousdannii notes, however, this is a matter of style. Your style guide might stipulate that certain kinds of dashes be used in place of hyphens in one or the other position, for example. – choster Dec 7 '16 at 15:08
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You're asking about a term of art in mathematics, and the conventions for typesetting these kind of things do not rely on the rules of English grammar or the style guidelines of non-technical punctuation. As far as I can tell, many journals use the rules listed below. Your example falls under rule number 5. If you've been asked to edit the manuscript for a journal or other organization, it's likely that the organization has a style guide that lays out the typographic rules the organization uses. Consult the appropriate stylist at that organization.

  1. Types of semigroups named without abbreviations generally do not use hyphens: symmetric semigroup. This is true, even when the name is a compound in which one might expect a hyphen: finitely presented semigroup.
  2. The exceptions to rule 1 are two: semigroups named for two mathematicians (Baer-Levi semigroup) and semigroups named with prefixes ordinarily hyphenated in non-mathematical contexts: quasi-commutative semigroup, intra-regular semigroup).
  3. Types of semigroups named with a single abbreviation use a hyphen: C-semigroup, N-semigroup.
  4. Types of semigroups named with an abbreviation followed by a word use a hyphen between the abbreviation and the word if the abbreviation applies to the word: R-commutative semigroup. In a commutative semigroup, you can switch adjacent semigroup elements in equations; R-commutative semigroups have a more complicated criterion for the switch, so the R applies to the type commutativity, and not the semigroup directly.
  5. Types of semigroups named with an abbreviation followed by a word do not use a hyphen if the abbreviation and the word apply separately and directly to the semigroup: C contraction semigroup. Here the C applies to the continuity property of the semigroup, and the contraction applies to the boundedness property of the semigroup.
  • Thanks for an excellent detailed answer. This clears many of my potential doubts. – P Vanchinathan Dec 7 '16 at 12:03

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