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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Dutch
      • Home Country:
      • Netherlands
      • Current Location:
      • Netherlands

    • Join Date: Mar 2015
    • Posts: 2
    #1

    Using hyphens for ellipsis

    Hello,

    I was recently discussing with someone whether it's possible to use hyphens (-) to leave out common endings of words. An example would be saying 'up- and downregulation' instead of 'upregulation and downregulation'. I thought this was possible, but can't find this application of the hyphen described anywhere, so I was wondering if it was allowed at all?

    Kind regards,
    Harry (from The Netherlands)

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
    • Member Info
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      • British English
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      • UK
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      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2009
    • Posts: 41,832
    #2

    Re: Using hyphens for ellipsis

    It is used when both words are hyphenated (in the BrE style used in the company I proofread for).

    I have travelled in both a two- and three-seater aircraft.
    I hope to buy a two-, three- or four-bedroomed house.
    Bizarrely, his essay was both well- and badly-written.
    Are you home- or office-based?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Dutch
      • Home Country:
      • Netherlands
      • Current Location:
      • Netherlands

    • Join Date: Mar 2015
    • Posts: 2
    #3

    Re: Using hyphens for ellipsis

    Thanks for your response!
    If I understand correctly, something like 'up- and downregulation' would for example be incorrect, because the words are not hyphenated on their own?

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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      • United States
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,218
    #4

    Re: Using hyphens for ellipsis

    I agree that if the words don't have the hyphens, you should not use this.
    It's called "the suspended hyphen" if you want to look for more opinions online.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 14-Mar-2015 at 09:20. Reason: Minor typo
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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