Hyphenate compound modifiers—two or more words that modify the same noun.

  • Examples: world-class university, full-time student

Hyphenate phrases to avoid ambiguity.

  • Examples: small-business owner, special-education teacher, etc.

In general, do not hyphenate words with prefixes and suffixes (non, pre, wide, etc.).

  • Examples: nonresident, prearrange, campuswide

Hyphenate to avoid triple consonants and double vowels.

  • Examples: pre-election, pre-establish, pre-existing, pre-eminent
  • Exceptions: cooperate, coordinate

Hyphenate if the word that follows a prefix begins with a capital letter.

  • Examples: un-American, mid-March