Type a hyphen without a space on either side.

Separation of word at end of line

Use a hyphen to separate a word at the end of a line. In most instances, words should be divided between syllables. When in doubt, check a dictionary.

Other instances, however, require special consideration.

Avoid dividing the last word in a paragraph, or the last word of a page if it is necessary to jump the column to another page.

--A single-letter syllable should not be separated from the rest of the word.

Correct: abil-ity         Incorrect: a-bility
Correct: alasIncorrect: a-las
Correct: enoughIncorrect: e-nough

If a final consonant is doubled before a suffix, the added consonant goes with the suffix. If the root word ends in a double consonant, divide it after the double letter:

Correct: allot-ted         Incorrect: allott-ed
Correct: pass-ingIncorrect: pas-sing

--Do not divide words of one syllable.

weightthoughtstrengthscheme thought
weighed         trimmed         passed         shipped          broached

--Avoid dividing words of five or fewer letters even if a word has more than one syllable.

idea         tiny         odium        torso         table

--Do not divide acronyms, contractions, or figures.

ASCAP         AH=SOW         A&R          BHS

--Divide a word after the prefix rather than within the prefix.

Correct: intro-duceIncorrect: in-troduce
Correct: inter-nationalIncorrect: in-ternational
Correct: circum-stances         Incorrect: cir-cumstances

--However, do not divide a word, even by syllables, when its division would confuse the reader.

read-just         rear-range         opera-tion

Because of these special instances, an editor may have to rephrase a sentence in order to avoid an awkward hyphenation pattern, excessive white space, or cramped copy.

Compound modifiers

Use a hyphen to form a compound modifier from two or more words that express a single concept. If the newly created modifier comes before the noun, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound except the adverb "very" and all adverbs that end in -ly.

a first-quarter report, a bluish-green vest, a full-time job, a well-known man, a better-qualified director, a know-it-all attitude, a very good time, an easily remembered rule, a newly appointed director

In most cases, if the compound modifier comes after the noun, hyphens are not needed.

The report was due in Kenosha by the end of the first quarter.
The vest, a bluish green, was reversible.
He works full time as a museum curator.
His attitude suggested that he knew it all.

However, if the modifier comes after a form of the verb "to be", the hyphen usually must be retained to avoid confusion.

The arranger is well-known.
The performance was certainly second-rate, at best.

Ambiguous wording

Use a hyphen whenever ambiguity would result if it were omitted.

Music services has sent a special packet of information to all small-chorus directors. (Without the hyphen, the sentence would imply that the directors are short.)
He recovered his balance on the risers, which we had recently re-covered with new carpet.

Writing numbers

--Use a hyphen when it is necessary to spell out numbers larger than 10 (at the beginning of a sentence, for example) and when the first number ends in -y.

Fifty-five men were on stage for the performance.
One hundred twenty singers filled the risers at the benefit.
One hundred twenty-one singers filled the risers at the benefit.

--Use a hyphen with numbers written in suspended form.

All 20- to 30-year members will receive special awards.
The chorus had a six- to eight-minute wait before it could take the stage.


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