[U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual]
[Chapter 6 - Compounding Rules]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

6.1. 	A compound word is a union of two or more words, either with or 
        without a hyphen. It conveys a unit idea that is not as clearly 
        or quickly conveyed by the component words in unconnected 
        succession. The hyphen is a mark of punctuation that not only 
        unites but also separates the component words; it facilitates 
        understanding, aids readability, and ensures correct 
        pronunciation. When compound words must be divided at the end 
        of a line, such division should be made leaving prefixes and 
        combining forms of more than one syllable intact. 

6.2. 	In applying the rules in this chapter and in using the list of 
        examples in the following chapter, ``Compounding Examples,'' 
        the fluid nature of our language should be kept in mind. Word 
        forms constantly undergo modification. Although it is often 
        the case that hyphenated compound words eventually lose their 
        hyphen, many of them start out unhyphenated.

6.3. 	The rules, therefore, are somewhat flexible. Exceptions must 
        necessarily be allowed. Current language trends continue to 
        point to closing up certain words which, through either 
        frequent use or widespread dissemination through modern media
        exposure, have become fixed in the reader's mind as units of 
        thought. The tendency to merge two short words continues to be 
        a natural progression toward better communication. 

General rules 
6.4. 	In general, omit the hyphen when words appear in regular order 
        and the omission causes no ambiguity in sense or sound. 

          banking hours            eye opener           real estate  
          blood pressure           fellow citizen       rock candy  
          book value               living costs         training ship  
          census taker             palm oil             violin teacher  
          day laborer              patent right  

6.5. Words are usually combined to express a literal or nonliteral 
     (figurative) unit idea that would not be as clearly expressed in
     unconnected succession.  

          afterglow                forget-me-not        right-of-way  
          bookkeeping              gentleman            whitewash  
          cupboard                 newsprint  

6.6. 	A derivative of a compound retains the solid or hyphenated form 
        of the original compound unless otherwise indicated. 

          coldbloodedness          outlawry             Y-shaped 
          footnoting               praiseworthiness 
          ill-advisedly            railroader 

6.7. 	A hyphen is used to avoid doubling a vowel or tripling a 
        consonant, except after the short prefi xes co, de, pre, pro, 
        and re, which are generally printed solid. (See also rules 6.29 
        and 6.32.) 

          cooperation              semi-independent     shell-like 
          deemphasis               brass-smith          hull-less 
          preexisiting             Inverness-shire      but 
          anti-inflation           thimble-eye          co-occupant 
          micro-organism           ultra-atomic         cross section 

Solid compounds 
6.8. 	Print solid two nouns that form a third when the compound has 
        only one primary accent, especially when the prefixed noun 
        consists of only one syllable or when one of the elements loses 
        its original accent. 

          airship                  cupboard             footnote 
          bathroom                 dressmaker           locksmith 
          bookseller               fishmonger           workman 

6.9. 	Print solid a noun consisting of a short verb and an adverb as 
        its second element, except when the use of the solid form would
        interfere with comprehension. 

          blowout                  builddown            flareback 
          breakdown                cooldown             giveaway 
          hangover                 runoff               but 
          holdup                   setup                cut-in 
          makeready                showdown             phase-in 
          markoff                  thowaway             run-in 
          pickup                   tradeoff             sit-in 

6.10. 	Compounds beginning with the following nouns are usually 
        printed solid. 

          book                     mill                 snow 
          eye                      play                 way 
          horse                    school               wood 
          house                    shop                 work 

6.11. 	Compounds ending in the following are usually printed solid,
        especially when the prefixed word consists of one syllable. 

          berry                    keeping              room 
          bird                     land                 shop 
          blossom                  light                site 
          board                    like                 skin 
          boat                     line                 smith 
          book                     load                 stone 
          borne                    maid                 store 
          bound                    maker                tail 
          box                      making               tight 
          boy                      man                  time (not clock)            
          brained                  master               ward 
          bug                      mate                 ware 
          bush                     mill                 water 
          cam                      mistress             way 
          craft                    monger               wear 
          field                    over                 weed 
          fish                     owner                wide 
          flower                   but #ownership       wise 
          fly                      person               woman
          girl                     picker               wood       
          grower                   picking              work  
          headed                   piece                worker     
          hearted                  plane                working      
          holder                   power                worm      
          hopper                   proof                worthy
          house                    roach                writer
6.12. 	Print solid any, every, no, and some when combined with body, 
        thing, and where. When one is the second element, print as two 
        words if meaning a single or particular person or thing. To 
        avoid mispronunciation, print no one as two words at all times. 

          anybody                  everywhere           somebody  
          anything                 everyone             something  
          anywhere                 nobody               somewhere  
          anyone                   nothing              someone  
          everybody                nowhere  
          everything               no one  

      but any one of us may stay; every one of the pilots is responsible; 
          every body was accounted for 

6.13. 	Print compound personal pronouns as one word. 

          herself                  oneself              yourself 
          himself                  ourselves            yourselves 
          itself                   themselves           
          myself                   thyself 

6.14. 	Print as one word compass directions consisting of two points, 
        but use a hyphen after the first point when three points are 

          northeast                north-northeast 
          southwest                south-southwest 

     also north-south alignment 

Unit modifiers 
6.15. 	Print a hyphen between words, or abbreviations and words, 
        combined to form a unit modifier immediately preceding the word  
        modified, except as indicated in rule 6.16 and elsewhere 
        throughout this chapter. This applies particularly to 
        combinations in which one element is a present or past 

          agreed-upon standards         Federal-State-local cooperation
          Baltimore-Washington road     German-English descent 
          collective-bargaining talks   guided-missile program 
          contested-election case       hearing-impaired class 
          contract-bar rule             high-speed line 
          cost-of-living increase       large-scale project 
          drought-stricken area         law-abiding citizen 
          English-speaking nation       long-term loan 
          fire-tested material          line-item veto 
          long-term-payment loan        U.S.-owned property; U.S.-
          low-cost housing              1-inch diameter; 2-inch-
                                          diameter pipe 
          lump-sum payment              a 4-percent increase, the 
                                          10-percent rise 
          most-favored-nation clause    but 
          multiple-purpose uses         4 percent citric acid 
          no-par-value stock            4 percent interest. (Note the 
                                            absence of an article: a, 
                                            an, or the. The word of is
                                            understood here.) 
          one-on-one situation 
          part-time personnel 
          rust-resistant covering 
          service-connected disability 
          state-of-the-art technology 
          supply-side economics 
          tool-and-die maker 
          up-or-down vote 

6.16. 	Where meaning is clear and readability is not aided, it is not
        necessary to use a hyphen to form a temporary or made compound.
        Restraint should be exercised in forming unnecessary 
        combinations of words used in normal sequence. 

          atomic energy power           national defense 
          bituminous coal industry      natural gas company 
          child welfare plan            per capita expenditure 
          civil rights case             Portland cement plant 
          civil service examination     production credit loan 
          durable goods industry        public at large 
          flood control study           public utility plant 
          free enterprise system        real estate tax 
          ground water levels           small businessman 
          high school student           Social Security pension 
          elementary school grade       soil conservation measures 
          income tax form               special delivery mail 
          interstate commerce law       parcel post delivery 
          land bank loan                speech correction class 
          land use program              but no-hyphen rule (readabi-
                                          lity aided); not no hyphen 
          life insurance company 
          mutual security funds 

6.17. 	Print without a hyphen a compound predicate (either adjective or 
        noun) whose second element is a present participle. 

          The duties were price 
            fixing.                     The shale was oil bearing. 

          The effects were far 
            reaching.                   The area is used for beet 

6.18. 	Print without a hyphen a compound predicate adjective the 
        second element of which is a past participle. Omit the hyphen 
        in a predicate modifier of comparative or superlative degree. 

          The area is drought 
            stricken.                   This material is fire tested. 

          The paper is fine grained.    The cars are higher priced. 

          Moderately fine grained 
            wood.                       The reporters are better 

6.19. 	Print without a hyphen a two-word modifier the first element of 
        which is a comparative or superlative. 

          better drained soil           but 
          best liked books              uppercrust society 
          higher level decision         lowercase, uppercase type 
          highest priced apartment      upperclassman 
          larger sized dress            bestseller (noun) 
          better paying job             lighter-than-air craft 
          lower income group            higher-than-market price 

6.20. 	Do not use a hyphen in a two-word unit modifier the first 
        element of which is an adverb ending in ly, nor use hyphens in 
        a three-word unit modifier the first two elements of which are 

          eagerly awaited moment        but 
          wholly owned subsidiary       ever-normal granary 
          unusually well preserved 
            specimen                    ever-rising flood 
          very well defined usage       still-new car 
          longer than usual lunch 
            period                      still-lingering doubt 
          not too distant future        well-known lawyer 
          most often heard phrase       well-kept secret 

6.21. 	Proper nouns used as unit modifiers, either in their basic or 
        derived form, retain their original form; but the hyphen is 
        printed when combining forms. 

          Latin American countries      Seventh-day Adventists 
          North Carolina roads          but 
          a Mexican-American            Minneapolis-St. Paul region 
          South American trade          North American-South American
          Spanish-American pride          sphere 
          Winston-Salem festival        French-English descent 
          African-American program      Washington-Wilkes-Barre route 
          Anglo-Saxon period              or Washington/Wilkes-Barre 
          Franco-Prussian War           route 

6.22. Do not confuse a modifier with the word it modifies. 

        elderly clothesman              well-trained schoolteacher 
        old-clothes man                 elementary school teacher 
        competent shoemaker             preschool children (kinder-
        wooden-shoe maker               pre-school children (before 
        field canning factory           rezoned wastesite 
        tomato-canning factory          hazardous-waste site 
        brave servicemen                
        service men and women           but 
        light blue hat (weight)         common stockholder 
        light-blue hat (color)          stock ownership 
        average taxpayer                small businessman 
        income-tax payer                working men and women 
        American flagship (military)    steam powerplant site 
        American-flagship               meat packinghouse owner 

6.23. 	Where two or more hyphenated compounds have a common basic 
        element but this element is omitted in all but the last term, 
        the hyphens are retained. 

          2- to 3- and 4- to 5-ton trucks 
          2- by 4-inch boards, but boards 2 to 6 inches wide 
          8-, 10-, and 16-foot boards 
          6.4-, 3.1-, and 2-percent pay raises 
          moss- and ivy-covered walls, not moss and ivy-covered walls 
          long- and short-term money rates, not long and short-term 
            money rates 
      but twofold or threefold, not two or threefold 
          goat, sheep, and calf skins, not goat, sheep, and calfskins 
          intrastate and intracity, not intra-state and -city 
          American owned and managed companies 
          preoperative and postoperative examination 

6.24. 	Do not use a hyphen in a unit modifier consisting of a foreign 

          ante bellum days         ex officio member    per diem 
          bona fide transaction    per capita tax       prima facie 

6.25. 	Do not print a hyphen in a unit modifier containing a letter or 
        a numeral as its second element. 

          abstract B pages         class II railroad    point 4 program 
          article 3 provisions     grade A milk         ward D beds 

6.26. 	Do not use a hyphen in a unit modifier enclosed in quotation 
        marks unless it is normally a hyphenated term, but quotation 
        marks are not to be used in lieu of a hyphen. 

          ``blue sky'' law              but 
          ``good neighbor'' policy      right-to-work law 
          ``tie-in'' sale               line-item veto 

6.27. 	Print combination color terms as separate words, but use a 
        hyphen when such color terms are unit modifiers. 

          bluish green                  bluish-green feathers 
          dark green                    iron-gray sink 
          orange red                    silver-gray body 

6.28. 	Do not use a hyphen between independent adjectives preceding a 

          big gray cat                  a fine old southern gentleman 

Prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms 
6.29. 	Print solid combining forms and prefixes, except as indicated 

          afterbirth               infrared             peripatetic  
          Anglomania               interview            planoconvex  
          antedate                 intraspinal          polynodal  
          antislavery              introvert            postscript  
          biweekly                 isometric            preexist  
          bylaw                    macroanalysis        proconsul  
          circumnavigation         mesothorax           pseudoscholastic  
          cisalpine                metagenesis          reenact  
          cooperate                microphone           retrospect  
          contraposition           misstate             semiofficial  
          countercase              monogram             stepfather  
          deenergize               multicolor           subsecretary  
          demitasse                neophyte             supermarket  
          excommunicate            nonneutral           thermocouple  
          extracurricular          offset               transonic  
          foretell                 outbake              transship  
          heroicomic               overactive           tricolor  
          hypersensitive           pancosmic            ultraviolet  
          hypoacid                 paracentric          unnecessary  
          inbound                  particoated          underflow  

6.30. 	Print solid combining forms and suffixes, except as indicated 

          portable                 geography            procurement 
          coverage                 manhood              innermost 
          operate                  selfish              partnership 
          plebiscite               pumpkin              lonesome 
          twentyfold               meatless             homestead 
          spoonful                 outlet               northward 
          kilogram                 wavelike             clockwise 

6.31. 	Print solid words ending in like, but use a hyphen to avoid 
        tripling a consonant or when the first element is a proper 

          lifelike                 girllike             Scotland-like 
          lilylike                 bell-like            McArtor-like 

6.32. 	Use a hyphen or hyphens to prevent mispronunciation, to ensure 
        a definite accent on each element of the compound, or to avoid

          anti-hog-cholera serum                re-cover (cover again) 
          co-occurrence                         re-creation (create 
          co-op                                 re-lay (lay again) 
          mid-decade                            re-sorting (sort again) 
          multi-ply (several plies)             re-treat (treat again) 
          non-civil-service position            un-ionized 
          non-tumor-bearing tissue              un-uniformity 
          pre-midcourse review 
          pre-position (before)                 but 
          pro-choice                            rereferred 
          pro-life                              rereviewed 

6.33. 	Use a hyphen to join duplicated prefixes. 

          re-redirect              sub-subcommittee     super-superla-

6.34. 	Print with a hyphen the prefixes ex, self, and quasi. 

          ex-governor                           quasi-argument 
          ex-serviceman                         quasi-corporation 
          ex-son-in-law                         quasi-young 
          self-control                          but 
          self-educated                         selfhood 

          quasi-academic                        selfsame 

6.35. Unless usage demands otherwise, use a hyphen to join a prefix or
      combining form to a capitalized word. (The hyphen is retained in 
      words of this class set in caps.)  

          anti-American                         non-Federal  
          un-American                           but  
          non-Government                        nongovernmental  
          neo-Nazi                              overanglicize  
          post-World War II                     transatlantic  
            or post-Second World War  

Numerical compounds  
6.36. Print a hyphen between the elements of compound numbers from 
      twenty-one to ninety-nine and in adjective compounds with a 
      numerical first element. 

          twenty-one                            three-and-twenty 
          twenty-first                          two-sided question 
          6-footer                              multimillion-dollar fund 
          6-foot-11-inch man                    10-dollar-per-car tax 
          24-inch ruler                         thirty- (30-) day period 
          3-week vacation                       but 
          8-hour day                            one hundred twenty-one 
          10-minute delay                       100-odd 
          20th-century progress                 foursome 
          3-to-1 ratio                          threescore 
          5-to-4 vote                           foursquare
          .22-caliber cartridge                 $20 million airfield 
          2-cent-per-pound tax                  second grade children 
          four-in-hand tie 

6.37. 	Print without a hyphen a modifi er consisting of a possessive 
        noun preceded by a numeral. (See also rule 8.14.) 

          1 month's layoff                      3 weeks' vacation 
          1 week's pay                          1 minute's delay 
          2 hours' work                     but a 1-minute delay 

6.38. 	Print a hyphen between the elements of a fraction, but omit it 
        between the numerator and the denominator when the hyphen 
        appears in either or in both. 

          one-thousandth                        twenty-three thirtieths 
          two-thirds                            twenty-one thirty-
          two one-thousandths                   three-fourths of an 

6.39. 	A unit modifier following and reading back to the word or words 
        modified takes a hyphen and is printed in the singular. 

          motor, alternating-current, 3-phase, 60-cycle, 115-volt 
          glass jars: 5-gallon, 2-gallon, 1-quart 

          belts: 2-inch, 1 1/4-inch, 1/2-inch, 1/4-inch 

Civil and military titles 
6.40. 	Do not hyphenate a civil or military title denoting a single 
        office, but print a double title with a hyphen. 

          ambassador at large                   secretary-treasurer 
          assistant attorney general            sergeant at arms 
          commander in chief                    treasurer-manager 
          comptroller general                   under secretary
          Congressman at Large                    but under-secretary-
          major general                         vice president
          notary public                           but vice-presidency       
          secretary general 

6.41. 	The adjectives elect and designate, as the last element of a 
        title, require a hyphen. 

          President-elect (Federal)             ambassador-designate 
          Vice-President-elect (Federal)        minister-designate 
          Secretary of Housing and Urban

Scientific and technical terms 
6.42. 	Do not print a hyphen in scientific terms (names of chemicals,
        diseases, animals, insects, plants) used as unit modifiers if 
        no hyphen appears in their original form. 

          carbon monoxide poisoning             whooping cough remedy 
          guinea pig raising 
          hog cholera serum                     but 
          methyl bromide solution               Russian-olive plantings 
          stem rust control                     Douglas-fir tree 
          equivalent uranium content 

6.43. 	Chemical elements used in combination with figures use a 
        hyphen, except with superior figures. 

          Freon-12                 uranium-235          Sr\90\ 
          polonium-210	           U\235\               \92\U\234\ 

6.44. 	Note use of hyphens and closeup punctuation in chemical 


6.45. 	Print a hyphen between the elements of technical or contrived 
        compound units of measurement. 

          candela-hour             light-year           work-year  
          crop-year                passenger-mile   but kilowatthour  
          horsepower-hour          staff-hour  

Improvised compounds 
6.46. 	Print with a hyphen the elements of an improvised compound. 
          blue-pencil (v.)                      George ``Pay-As-You-
                                                  Go'' Miller 
          18-year-old (n., u.m.)                stick-in-the-mud (n.) 
          know-it-all (n.)                      let-George-do-it 
          know-how (n.)                         how-to-be-beautiful 
          lick-the-finger-and-test-the-wind     hard-and-fast rule   
            economics                           penny-wise and pound-
                                                 foolish policy 
          make-believe (n., u.m.)               first-come-first-served 
          one-man-one-vote principle        but a basis of first come, 
                                                  first served 
          roll-on/roll-off ship 

6.47. 	Use hyphens in a prepositional-phrase compound noun consisting 
        of three or more words. 

          cat-o'-nine-tails        man-of-war           but 
          government-in-exile      mother-in-law        heir at law 
          grant-in-aid             mother-of-pearl      next of kin 
          jack-in-the-box          patent-in-fee        officer in 

6.48. 	When the corresponding noun form is printed as separate words, 
        the verb form is always hyphenated. 

          cold-shoulder            blue-pencil          cross-brace 

6.49. 	Print a hyphen in a compound formed of repetitive or conflict-
        ing terms and in a compound naming the same thing under two 

          boogie-woogie            hanky-panky          young-old 
          comedy-ballet            murder-suicide       but 
          dead-alive               nitty-gritty         bowwow 
          devil-devil              pitter-patter        dillydally 
          even-stephen             razzle-dazzle        hubbub 
          farce-melodrama          walkie-talkie        nitwit 
          fiddle-faddle            willy-nilly          riff raff 

6.50. 	Use a hyphen in a nonliteral compound expression containing 
        anapostrophe in its first element. 

          asses'-eyes              bull's-eye           crow's-nest 
          ass's-foot               cat's-paw 

6.51. 	Use a hyphen to join a single capital letter to a noun or a

          H-bomb                   C-section            but 
          I-beam                   V-necked             x ray       
          T-shaped                 S-iron               x raying 
          U-boat                   T-square             S turns 
          C-chip                   X-ed out 

6.52. 	Print idiomatic phrases without hyphens. 

          come by                  insofar as            nowadays 
          inasmuch as              Monday week