Editing Tips: Academic Writing and Hyphenation

Editing Tips: Academic Writing and Hyphenation
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When you need to join several words into a compound, you can use a hyphen (-). Writers use hyphens in writing so that their readers don’t get confused. You can find some hyphenated words in a dictionary, however, many of such words are formed just by convention.

There are specific rules that determine whether or not you can hyphenate a term. Therefore, we recommend that you check Google Scholar to understand whether a particular term is usually hyphenated or not. In this article, writing consultants from https://college-writers.com/ will provide you with some useful tips that will help you use hyphenation in your academic writing.

Compound Modifiers Before a Noun

Compound modifiers include two or more words and describe a noun. Quite often, such modifiers are hyphenated if they appear before the noun. However, a hyphen is unnecessary if the compound is in the predicate.

  • “decision-making process” but “the process of decision making”
  • “seller-customer relationship” but “the relationship between the seller and customer”
  • “high-quality products” but “products of high quality”

You also don’t need to include a hyphen if a compound modifier includes an adverb that ends with “-ly” because your readers can quickly understand what is the role of the adverb in the compound.

  • “randomly generated numbers,” not “randomly-generated numbers”
  • “highly productive team,” not “highly-productive team”

Common Ending Elements

If you have two compounds that have a second word in common, you can omit the second element in the first compound but you should keep the hyphen. The same goes to closed compounds, as well. In this case, the two elements don’t require a hyphen but you can use it because of the common part.

  • long- and short-term agreements
  • low- and high-level radiation
  • pre- and postoperative treatment.

Keep in mind that you cannot do the same if two compounds have the same first word, for example:

  • “left-brained and left-handed participants,” not “left-brained and -handed participants.”

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