Missouri State University follows the Associated Press Stylebook for guidance on writing for print or electronic publication. AP Style recently added several new entries and updated some sections.
Missouri State has a limited membership to the online AP Stylebook. More information on each of these entries is available in the online guide. If you create content for the university, contact Andrea Mostyn to request access.
Updates and additions
Use hyphens to avoid ambiguity or to form a single idea.
If the number of hyphens can confuse readers, rephrase: It’s a guide about how to use hyphens wisely, not it’s a how-to-use-hyphens-wisely guide.
Use a hyphen in modifiers of three or more words: a know-it-all attitude, black-and-white photography.
No hyphen is needed to link a two-word phrase that includes the adverb very and all adverbs ending in -ly: a very good time, an easily remembered rule.
Many phrases that are hyphenated before a noun are not hyphenated when they are after a noun: She is a well-known judge. She works full time.
Do not use a hyphen to designate dual heritage: African American, Italian American, Mexican American.
pre- or re-
Do not hyphenate double-e combinations with pre- or re-. Examples: preeclampsia, preeminent, preempt, preestablished, preexisting, reelect, reemerge, reemphasize, reemploy and reenact.
No hyphen in most cases: a fourth grade student, first grader, she is in the fifth grade. Hyphenate if needed to avoid confusion, such when combined with another number: He was the sixth fourth-grade student to win the prize; she is the 10th third-grader to join.
Follow the rules above in composing the possessive form of words that occur in such phrases as a day’s pay, two weeks’ vacation, three months’ work. The apostrophe is used with a measurement followed by a noun (a quantity of whatever the noun is). The examples could be rephrased as a day of pay, two weeks of vacation, three months of work.
No apostrophe when the quantity precedes an adjective: six months pregnant, three weeks overdue, 11 years old.