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Hyphens with Common Prefixes

Should we use a hyphen with a common prefix such as non or un? For example, is it non-alcoholic beverages or nonalcoholic beverages?
Generally, with common prefixes, you do not need to use a hyphen unless it would avoid possible confusion.  Therefore, most writers would write nonalcoholic beverages.

Examples: uninviting
uninterested
noncompetitive
preexisting (some writers would write pre-existing)
pretest
posttest (some writers would write post-test)
Exception: As the above examples suggest, when adding a prefix creates a double vowel or double consonant, many writers use a hyphen.
Examples: ultra-ambitious
non-native

Posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010, at 9:09 am


4 Comments

4 Responses to “Hyphens with Common Prefixes”

  1. English Grammar says:

    Mostly, people face problems in using correct grammar with punctuations and i am also one of them. Your blog content always helps me in clearing my doubts. Like the use of correct preposition is really helpful for me. Thanks for this great information.

  2. Janice says:

    Does the prefix sub have a hyphen (e.g.subcontractor or sub-contractor)?

    Thank you so much in advance.

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