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Can a hyphen be used without anything on the right side?

I'm trying to discuss types of semiconductor, there is P-type and N-type. Assuming my hyphenation is correct, should it be 'p- and n-type' or just 'p and n-type'?

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    I'm quite certain this type of question has been asked recently. The problem is finding the original - if it gets asked again next month, who would think to find this one by searching for the particular words in the title? Next time it might be "Five- and six-sided polygons, or five and six-sided?" Jan 11 '12 at 16:45
  • I did a search for hyphenation and conjugation before I posted this, nothing relevant came up. If you think you have a better title that still describes my problem, @FumbleFingers, feel free to edit it into one.
    – Pureferret
    Jan 11 '12 at 16:47
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    Top man! My edit to the title was blocked because you were also making the exact same change! Jan 11 '12 at 17:04
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    Hi- and low-five
    – Pureferret
    Jan 11 '12 at 17:07
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    @John: I think a dedicated punctuation.se site might be a specialisation too far, but you've certainly prompted me to notice that neither this nor the earlier question had the punctuation tag, so I've just editted it in to both. If we were all a bit more rigorous about that, you could just set your preferences to ignore that tag, and all would be hunky-dory. Jan 11 '12 at 18:28

It would be P- and N-type; writing P and N-type leaves it open to the interpretation that you are talking about a single type called "P and N" rather than two types, named "P" and "N".


I would write "P-type and N-type". Describing the technology accurately and unambiguously is more important than annoying grade school English teachers and dictionary pedants.

People may also search your text for "P-type"


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