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Use of hyphens when writing repeated compound words that has common parts

I am looking for a general way of shortening the repetition of words with prefixes like "upwards and downwards", "inputs and outputs", "upscale and downscale", etc. Is there an accepted way to shorten this in writing?

In spoken English we do something like "up and downwards" or "in and outputs".

  • Can we have some context please? A real sentence? Computing input/output may be different from other fields. [And actually, input/output might be the answer]
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 16, 2012 at 10:30
  • I am looking for a general way of shortening the repetition of words. Like, say upwards and downwards, inputs and outputs, upscale and downscale, etc… I'll update the question and title to make this clear. Aug 16, 2012 at 10:38
  • This totally is a duplicate of said question. Sorry about that! This being said, nether the answers here nor there seem to know what the definite answer is… Aug 16, 2012 at 22:49

2 Answers 2


I've seen both of these in writing:

  • up and downwards, in and outputs, up and downscale
  • up- and downwards, in- and outputs, up- and downscale

English-speakers sometimes write "up- and downscale" and the like. But I think for the most part, we just don't shorten it. You write "upscale and downscale", and the fact that the suffix is repeated is just how it is.

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