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Jane Straus - Hyphens with Common Prefixes

Hyphens with Common Prefixes


 
Jane Straus is the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and Enough is Enough! and developer of GrammarBook.com

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. Therefore, the correct answer is nonalcoholic beverages.

 

Examples:

uninviting

uninterested

noncompetitive

preexisting

pretest

posttest

 

Exception: When adding the common prefix will create a double i or double a, use a hyphen.

 

Examples: ultra-ambitious

                   semi-invalid

 

Exception: When common prefixes are attached to hyphenated compounds, use a hyphen.

 

Examples: non-iron-bearing sulphides

                   non-English-speaking countries

 

Pop Quiz:

 

  1. We signed a non-binding agreement.
  2. The coroner determined that her death was due to un-natural causes.
  3. The insurance company denied his claim because of a pre-existing condition.
  4. That was so un-Frenchlike of her to eat a heavy meal last night.
  5. By taking a pro-active position, he avoided a lawsuit.
  6. The enemy fired an anti-aircraft missile, but it did not explode.
  7. Hospitals use anti-bacterial soap in their public restrooms.
  8. This lemon tastes ultra-acidic.

 

Pop Quiz Answers:

 

  1. We signed a nonbinding agreement.
  2. The coroner determined that her death was due to unnatural causes.
  3. The insurance company denied his claim because of a preexisting condition.
  4. That was so un-French-like of her to eat a heavy meal last night.
  5. By taking a proactive position, he avoided a lawsuit.
  6. The enemy fired an antiaircraft missile, but it did not explode.
  7. Hospitals use antibacterial soap in their public restrooms.
  8. CORRECT

  

 Wordplay: To write with a broken pencil is pointless.

Jane Strauss

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ambreen
Posts: 16
Comment
query
Reply #1 on : Sun September 19, 2010, 10:22:28
i did't undersatnd it clearly"When common prefixes are attached to hyphenated compounds, use a hyphen"
please elaborate it.




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