If the meaning I'm aiming for is "love-minded and commitment-minded", but I want the sentence to feel smoother, is the following correct?

Those behaviors are hallmarks of narcissists and men who aren’t love- and commitment-minded.

(Note that a hyphen immediately follows "love".)

I haven't been able to find examples of sentences written this way, so I don't know why my impulse was to write it this way.

Is it correct to have a hyphen dangling like that when the next part of the sentence contains another hyphenated word such that the reader could assume that its ending is meant to be used for the first case too?

  • Try searching for "suspended compound" on this site, or elsewhere.
    – Juhasz
    Sep 26, 2019 at 20:49
  • That dangling dash after love looks funny. "And" is a perfectly good word for pairing two things, all by its lonesome. Sep 26, 2019 at 20:53

1 Answer 1


Yes, that's the way you do it. An example, one that often gets screwed up, is writing "mid- to late" something, like "in the mid- to late 20th century" or "in his mid- to late thirties." In that example, the second modifier, "late," doesn't take a hyphen, just like saying "late thirties" doesn't, but the first modifier, "mid," does, just like saying "mid-thirties" does.

Another example is the phrasing "five- and ten-dollar bills." If you alternatively write "five and ten dollar bills," it means fifteen one-dollar bills, not five-dollar bills and ten-dollar bills.

A third example is "right- and left- handed." If you write "people who are right and left-handed," for example, it means people who are correct and left-handed, not people who are right-handed and left-handed.

For more information, click the following link and scroll down to "Hanging Hyphens":


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