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IU Editorial Style Guide, Letter H


Capitalize this term. It is considered to be English and is therefore not italicized as a foreign word.

This term refers to people who come from (or whose ancestors come from) Spanish-speaking countries. The term is not necessarily interchangeable with Latina/Latino.

See also Latina, Latino, Latine, Latinx.


Many modifier-noun pairs such as high school are unhyphenated when used to modify another noun, especially if the pair is a familiar one.

high school students, not high-school students

overseas study opportunities, not overseas-study opportunities

dual degree programs, not dual-degree programs

general education requirement, not general-education requirement

This is true even when the first word in the pair is also a noun (such as the word grade in the expression grade point).

grade point average, not grade-point average

If the pair is very familiar, often it is closed up.

lowercase letters, not lower case letters or lower-case letters

On the other hand, the hyphen should still be inserted when it’s needed to prevent confusion.

all-grade education, a heavy-ion physicist

A noun-modifier pair such as computer assisted is usually hyphenated when it comes before the noun, but not after it.

She directs the computer-assisted reference services.
but: Almost all of our services are computer assisted.

This is also generally true for modifying phrases containing prepositions.

She lives in off-campus housing.
but: Her home is off campus.

The same rule applies to terms ending in -time or -level.

He is a part-time web designer.
but: He works here part time.

Those are graduate-level courses.
but: All of those courses are graduate level.

It’s also true for modifying pairs involving two modifiers.

He is a much-appreciated worker.
but: His diligence is much appreciated.

Do not hyphenate, however, when the first modifier ends in -ly. In this case, leave a space after the -ly word, wherever it occurs.

The highly organized administrative assistant was deeply respected.

Similarly, modifying phrases containing units of measure tend to be hyphenated before but not after the noun.

a three-hour tour, a 150,000-square-foot building, a five-year-old child (but: Sophie is five years old), a mid-twelfth-century relic

Exceptions to this rule occur when the modifying phrase involves money symbols, percentages, or credit hours, none of which have hyphens in any position.

a 9 percent increase in costs, a $2.5 million gift, a 4 credit hour course

The prefix co- is hyphenated in words referring to someone’s occupation or status (e.g., co-author, co-host) in both noun and verb forms. Otherwise, it is usually closed up (e.g., cocurricular, corequisite).

Use a “suspended” hyphen when a base word such as year in the example below, or a suffix or prefix such as self, is doing double duty.

second- and third-year law students, self-initiated and -implemented projects

Use this construction even when the complete words, standing alone, would be closed up.

macro- and microeconomics

Do not “take a shortcut” when the first expression is ordinarily open.

applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, not applied and sociolinguistics

The suffix -wide is hyphenated only after a lengthy base word.

but: campuswide, statewide

Many words beginning with common prefixes are closed up. Hyphens are not used in such familiar expressions as these:

extracurricular, interlibrary, midyear, minicomputer, multicultural, nondegree, postdoctoral, preenrollment, reevaluate, semicolon, socioeconomic

There are three types of exceptions, though:

Hyphenate if closing up the word would make it confusing, ambiguous, or difficult to read.

co-op (versus coop), anti-intellectual (versus antiintellectual)

Hyphenate if the second element in the word begins with a capital letter.


Hyphenate if the second element in a word that would usually not be hyphenated (e.g., nondegree) is part of a hyphenated phrase.

non-degree-granting program

For guidance on hyphenating specific words, see individual entries in the preferred spelling/capitalization word list in this style guide or see Webster’s Eleventh. Also, The Chicago Manual of Style has a very useful compounds section at the end of its seventh chapter.

See also dashes.