Skip to main content

Punctuation: Hyphens

Hyphen Basics

A hyphen is a punctuation mark that connects words.

Use a hyphen when a compound phrase is used as an adjective to modify the following word:

Example: The peer-reviewed research suggested...
Example: As a fourth-grade teacher, I...
Example: Anderson (1998) tried to avoid face-to-face conflicts.
  • Take the APA Style Diagnostic Quiz for more practice.
  • Review section 4.13 of the APA manual for even more detailed hyphen guidelines.

Do Not Use Hyphens...

  1. When the compound follows the word it modifies. Do not hyphenate when a compound comes after the noun it modifies.
    Incorrect: The research was peer-reviewed.
     
    Correct: The peer-reviewed research...
  2. Using most prefixes and suffixes. Words such as extra and phobia can be combined with other words without using a hyphen.
    Example: The unbiased study displayed multifaceted information about agoraphobia.

Here is a list of these prefixes and suffixes:

  • after
  • anti
  • bi
  • co
  • counter
  • equi
  • extra
  • infra
  • inter
  • intra
  • macro
  • mega
  • meta
  • micro
  • mid
  • mini
  • multi
  • non
  • over
  • post
  • pre
  • pro
  • pseudo
  • re
  • semi
  • socio
  • sub
  • super
  • supra
  • ultra
  • un
  • under