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Compound Words, Hyphenation and Prefixes Spelling

Compound words

definition
Full-time compound
Conditional compounds

  • Adjectival compound.
  • Add a hyphen to any prefix
  • Fractions.
  • Made-up compound
  • Do not hyphenate

Prefixes

  • Same two letters.
  • Superlatives-diminutives.
  • Weird terms.

Compound words

Definition: two or more words that work together in a specified order are compound words . This order cannot be reversed or rearranged without destroying the compound words meaning.

Full-time compound words are hyphenated whatever their role in a sentence as an adjective or a noun.

Conditional compounds are hyphenated as adjectives, but not when used as nouns.

  1. Adjectival compound. The counselor suggested a role-playing technique to reduce the stress of encounters, but cautioned that role playing alone would not solve the problem
  2. Add a hyphen to any prefix attached to a proper noun, capitalized abbreviation, or number
  3. Fractions. When . . . a fraction is considered a single quantity, it is hyphenated (One-fifth, three-fourth)
  4. Made-up compound. A compound may be of the made-up-for-the-occasion variety: The up-to-date figures were unadjusted. But when these terms are used in the predicate they are not hyphenated: The compound word was made up for the occasion.
  5. Do not hyphenate a compound term using an adverb ending in -ly.

Prefixes

Most common prefixes do not require a hyphen: aftereffect, antifreeze, cofounder, Internet, microwave, oversight, preempt, reexamine, supermarket, unbiased, underground. Note the following exceptions:

  1. Same two letters. If the prefix puts the same two letters together, a hyphen is sometimes inserted.
  2. Superlatives-diminutives. Some prefixes, best-, better-, ill-, lesser-, little-, well-, are hyphenated when they precede the noun they modify, but are not hyphenated when preceded by a modifier, or when used as a predicate adjective. The ill-advised attack failed, the strategy was ill advised.
  3. Weird terms. If the prefix creates an unfamiliar or weird term, a hyphen may improve clarity, for example, pro-ally, anti-college instead of proally, anticollege.

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