Hyphenation—worth a second look

When should you hyphenate? Opinions vary, but here are some general rules from the AMA Manual of Style for when to use the mark and when to leave a word alone.

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• Did the creators of hyphenation rules use valid decision-making methods? (But: Their methods of decision making were questionable.) • The student came for a follow-up visit to discuss his inability to hyphenate correctly. (But: Be sure to follow up with that style guide.)

Hyphenate two nouns of equal participation used as a single noun.

• She is a writer-editor. • The student-teacher relationship became strained.

Use a hyphen as a prefix when the unhyphenated word would have a different meaning.

• re-treat • re-creation • re-formation

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