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Hyphens with Common Prefixes, Part 2

The current trend is to do away with unnecessary hyphens with common prefixes.

Examples:
noncompliance
copayment
semiconscious
unending

However, there are exceptions.

Exception: Hyphenate all words beginning with the prefix self.

Examples:
self-assured
self-respect
self-addressed

Exception: Use a hyphen with the prefix ex.

Example: His ex-wife sued for nonsupport.

Exception: Hyphenate prefixes when they come before proper nouns.

Examples:
un-American
non-English speaker

Posted on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, at 10:33 am


2 Comments

2 Responses to “Hyphens with Common Prefixes, Part 2”

  1. Karen says:

    Do you hyphenate minutes? For example, is it proper to say:

    ten minute
    ten minutes
    ten-minute
    ten-minutes

    • Jane says:

      It should only be hyphenated if it is used as a compound adjective in front of a noun. Examples:

      The class took a ten-minute break.
      I will only be gone for ten minutes.

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