I've seen it used both ways, but I'm wondering what is the proper way to punctuate phrases with adverbs and words like "based".

example would be: academically-based instruction vs. academically based instruction

newly-identified disease vs. newly identified disease

Thank you.

  • The usual rule of thumb is to favour These are academically-based instructions when it comes before the referent noun, as opposed to These instructions are academically based, where the noun comes first. – FumbleFingers Jan 9 '19 at 17:05
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    Dunno about "inaccurate". It's true you'll probably never come across a hyphen between very and the following adjective, but anyone who thinks a finely-tuned machine is actually "incorrect" is just overstating the case for his particular preferred Style Guide. – FumbleFingers Jan 9 '19 at 17:45
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    @FumbleFingers That rule of thumb applies when the first member of the compound adjective is itself a noun or an adjective; it does not apply so frequently when the first element is an adverb, especially one in -ly, because it’s arguably not a compound adjective in such cases, but simply an adjective modified by an adverb. Personally I would never use a hyphen in cases like academically based, though I would in well-behaved (even predicatively). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 9 '19 at 23:13
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    I don't know of any style guide that would say to use a hyphen. From The Chicago Manual of Style: "Compounds formed by an adverb ending in ly plus an adjective or participle (such as largely irrelevant or smartly dressed) are not hyphenated either before or after a noun, since ambiguity is virtually impossible. (The ly ending with adverbs signals to the reader that the next word will be another modifier, not a noun.)" The Associated Press Stylebook also says not to hyphenate in this case. – Jason Bassford Jan 10 '19 at 2:41
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    Incidentally, this should not have been marked as a duplicate of the question it was. This isn't about compound adjectives in general, but specifically about compound adjectives that start with an ly adverb. – Jason Bassford Jan 10 '19 at 2:46

According to the New York Times: "In general, assume you can go without a hyphen unless a modifying phrase or expression would truly be confusing or hard to read without it.... A hyphen is never necessary in compound modifiers with an adverb ending in -ly."

https://afterdeadline.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/12/hyphens-run-amok/ (The article evaluates 7 examples where hyphens were not necessary—or simply incorrect.)

Style guides might vary, but this NYT advice matches what I've been taught and has passed muster with copy editors of academic-journal articles and books I've coauthored.

  • +1 I don't know of any style guide that says to use a hyphen in this case. As I mention in a comment under the question itself, The Chicago Manual of Style says not to hyphenate. The Associated Press Stylebook also says not to hyphenate in this case. – Jason Bassford Jan 10 '19 at 2:44

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