4 posts categorized "Hyphenation"

November 14, 2016

Hyphenation Station: When Not to Use a Hyphen

Timothy McAdooby Timothy McAdoo

In the previous posts in this series (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), we discussed the general principles of hyphenation, as describe in much more detail on pages 97–100 of the Publication Manual. 

General Principle 1 (from p. 98) says “If a compound adjective can be misread, use a hyphen.” But, the reverse is also true: If the compound adjective is clear as it stands, you do not need a hyphen. This may sound like a judgment call, but the following guidelines can help you make the call in many cases.

Examples of Adverbs Ending in -ly

widely attended gatherings
relatively comfortable chair
randomly assigned participants

Adverbs ending in -ly

Adverbs ending in -ly are understood to modify the word that follows. Adding a hyphen would be redundant.

For example, in the phrase widely attended gatherings readers understand that widely modifies attended. Adding a hyphen, to write this as widely-attended gatherings, would not give the reader any additional information.

 

 

Examples of Comparative or Superlative Adjectives

much maligned argument
better understood philosophy
less anticipated production
higher scoring participants

Comparative or superlative adjectives

In a similar way, comparative or superlative adjectives modify the word that follows and do not need hyphens.

These and other examples where a hyphen should not be included can be found in Table 4.1 on page 98 of the Manual. All five general principles for hyphens can also be found in this FAQ.

 

October 27, 2016

Hyphenation Station: Repeated Hyphens in a Phrase

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

A hyphen is usually used in APA Style when two or more words modify a common noun (and that noun comes after the modifiers), for example, 7-point scale or client-centered counseling. When multiple modifiers have a common base, the base can be omitted in all except the last modifier, but the hyphens should be retained. Also include spaces and commas as needed after the hyphens to create the list. Note that if the modifiers come after the common base, no hyphens should be used, but the base of the word can still be omitted.

Here are some examples:

Modifiers Before Common Base
(Use Hyphens)

Modifiers After Common Base
(No Hyphens)

short- and long-term effects

the effects were short and long term

4-, 5-, and 6-year-old girls

the girls were 4, 5, and 6 years old

10th- and 11th-grade students

the students were in the 10th and 11th grades

For more information on hyphenation principles, see Section 4.13 in the Publication Manual, our FAQ on hyphenation, or leave a comment below.

October 13, 2016

Hyphenation Station: Using Compound Adjectives

Cmerenda profile pictureby Claire Merenda

Most of us know what an adjective is. And many of us might remember learning about compound words, too. But what is a compound adjective?

Compound adjectives are two or more connected words acting as one modifier (e.g., client-centered or all-inclusive). These words work together to create a single concept that modifies a noun. Hyphenating this particular part of speech can be a challenge, so APA Style has some basic guidelines to follow in these situations.

Fingers-holding-puzzle-smWhen the compound adjective comes before the noun it modifies, and the meaning of the term could be misread, a hyphen is often needed to make the meaning clear (e.g., all inclusive classrooms has a different meaning that all-inclusive classrooms). One hyphen can make all the difference in clarity. For example, if a professor asks a class to write nine page reports, a well-placed hyphen would clarify if the students should each write nine separate reports about a page (nine “page reports”) or each write reports that are nine pages in length (nine-page reports). The correctly placed hyphen (nine-page reports) indicates that nine and page create a single concept, and that nine-page jointly modifies reports. A simple hyphen can make a student’s day.

However, if the compound adjective comes after the noun, the relationships between the words may be intelligible without a hyphen (e.g., counseling that is client centered). As a writer, if you’re struggling with hyphens in long modifier chains, moving the modifier to the end of the phrase can help untangle more obscure or dense sentences. If the professor in the previous example had asked for reports that are nine pages long, there would likely be no misunderstanding.

More examples:

Modifiers Before Noun

Modifiers After Noun

well-known researcher

a researcher that is well known

t-test results results from t tests

full-scale investigation

investigation on a full scale

multiple-author citation citation with multiple authors
in-press paper a paper that is in press 

Note: You don’t need a hyphen when multiple modifiers work independently to modify a noun (e.g., critical social issues). This is no longer a case of a compound, but rather two independent adjectives. Here’s a good test: Apply each modifier independently to the noun. If the original meaning is maintained, then it’s not a compound modifier.

Example: “Always strive for a concise writing tone in your research.” Is it a concise tone and a writing tone? Yes. A hyphen is not needed because concise and writing independently modify the noun tone.

Example: “Be sure to utilize bias-free language.” Is it bias language and free language? No. A hyphen is needed, because bias and free are both essential to convey the concept bias-free.

October 05, 2016

Hyphenation Station: The Hyphenation of Prefixes in APA Style

Chelsea blog 2 by Chelsea Lee

Most words with prefixes are written without a hyphen after the prefix in APA Style. The table below contains some of the most common prefixes, examples of correct usage, and examples of exceptions. A full list of prefixes (and suffixes) to which this rule applies appears in Table 4.2 of the Publication Manual

Prefix

Example

Exception

anti-

antianxiety

anti-intellectual

co-

coworker

co-occur

mid-

midpoint

mid-2016

non-

nonsignificant

non-White

post-

postpartum

post-graduate-level students

pre-

pretreatment

pre-1960

pro-

prowar

pro-choice

re-

reexamination

re-pair [to pair again]

un-

undiagnosable

un-American

A hyphen should be used with a prefix under the following conditions:

  • The word could be misread without a hyphen (e.g., re-pair, meaning to pair again, vs. repair, meaning to fix).
  • The double vowels aa, ii, oo, or uu would occur without a hyphen (e.g., anti-intellectual is correct, not antiintellectual).
  • The word that follows the hyphen is capitalized (e.g., un-American).
  • The word that follows the hyphen begins with a numeral (e.g., mid-2016).
  • The word is shown as permanently hyphenated in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary (e.g., pro-choice).
  • A prefix is being added to a compound word that is already hyphenated (e.g., adding post- to graduate-level students creates post-graduate-level students, but if the phrase is just graduate students [no hyphen] then adding post- as a prefix gives you the regular hyphenless postgraduate students).

For more information on hyphenation principles, see Section 4.13 of the Publication Manual, our FAQ, or leave a comment below. And stay tuned for more posts in our hyphenation station series!

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