What Are Some of the Main Rules for Hyphenating Compound Words?

What Are Some of the Main Rules for Hyphenating Compound Words?

What Are Some of the Main Rules for Hyphenating Compound Words?

A temporary compound used as an adjective before a noun, a compound adjective that precedes a term it modifies, and two or more modifiers with a common base are a few main rules for hyphenating compound words. The rules do not concern commonly used compound words, such as light year.

A handful of compounds consisting of prefixes or suffixes are generally not hyphenated, such as antisocial, midtown and wavelike. However, a hyphen is necessary when the compound contains a year, a capitalized suffix or more than one word, or if it is potentially difficult to read without a hyphen, such as pro-life.

For the most part, compounds with a repeated vowel should be hyphenated. Reestablish and reedit are exceptions, but spelling differs between dictionaries and writers.