Did you know there are actually four different ways to use hyphens? Choosing the right type of hyphenation can be confusing, especially when following APA rules. For example, is the correct form first-grade or first grade? Although daunting, properly selecting the correct hyphenation according to APA requirements will help establish the clear, concise, and academic language necessary for doctoral-level research and publication. The following list includes the four types of compounds that require hyphenation:
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A temporary compound consists of two or more words that occur together to express a thought. Because the English language is always expanding, and new hyphenated words appear, deciding whether a hyphen should be used can be difficult. When making these decisions, consider referring to Webster’s Collegiate dictionary as a guide, which is the dictionary APA references. When a temporary compound modifies another word, it may be hyphenated. This hyphenation depends on the position of the temporary compound in the sentence and whether the pairing of a compound with another word can cause the reader to misinterpret the meaning. It is important to remember if temporary compounds precede what they modify, the compound may need to be hyphenated. If a temporary compound follows what it modifies, it usually does not require hyphenation.
Examples (hyphenated vs. nonhyphenated):
Hyphens, Dashes, and Minus Signs
General Rules for When to Hyphenate
General Rules of When Not to Hyphenate
Keep in mind that if a compound adjective can be misread, a hyphen should be used. If a compound adjective follows a term, do not use a hyphen.
Prefixed Words That Require Hyphens
For more rules, general principles, and lists of hyphenations, see APA 6 (pp, 98–100). Hopefully this blog will help you differentiate between the types of hyphenation and the rules regarding how and when to use hyphens. If you run into problems or concerns with the hyphenation use in your document, do not hesitate to reach out—Statistics Solutions is here to help!