Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes

Q. Can you offer any guidance as to how best to render people’s height? I’ve seen “five feet, two inches” (tall), “five-feet-two-inches” “five-feet-two,” “five-foot-two” (yikes!), “five-two,” all of the preceding with the hyphens placed otherwise or omitted, and, of course, good old 5' 2''. I’ve searched “Chicago” but haven’t found the answer. Help!

A. Usually, a hyphen is unnecessary: write “five feet, two inches tall,” “five feet, two inches,” “five foot two,” and so forth. But a hyphen is helpful in expressions such as “five-two.” If you write 5′2″, there’s no space after the sign for feet (a prime symbol). See CMOS 7.85, section 1, under “number + noun.” See also 10.69.