Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes
Q. What is the correct way to hyphenate school grade levels, “fifth-grade” or “fifth grade”? And “fifth-grader” or “fifth grader”? Thank you.
Q. I know an en dash separates sports scores, representing the word “to” (e.g., “the Lions won 34–6”), but what about win/loss records? In this case one would say, for example, “They ended the season with a record of 10 and 4.” So should this be expressed with an en dash or a hyphen? 10-4 or 10–4?
Q. I work as an editor, and we use CMOS as our primary source. My boss recently told me to hyphenate “machine-scored” in “the items were machine-scored,” because of a rule she cited about compounds formed with a verb. I can’t find a rule like this in CMOS. Is the hyphen Chicago style?
Q. In my office we have noticed a trend in Merriam-Webster to show previously closed compound words as hyphenated, such as “antiracist” and “antilabor.” CMOS clearly has a spare hyphenation style and lists prefixes as usually closed. Which should we follow when the two sources disagree? I would lean toward continuing to close compounds like “antiracist” and “antilabor” and use CMOS as our source, but we have been going in circles for a year now on this debate. Please help.
Q. CMOS 6.81 says en dashes can be used to set off campuses of universities, as in “University of Wisconsin–Madison.” When abbreviating the university such that it’s one word, would it make sense to change the en dash to a hyphen? For example, would you write “UW-Madison” with a hyphen because “UW” is now one word?
Q. Books that can be read aloud are known as “read-alouds.” Should this term be hyphenated or not?
Q. I am curious why CMOS hyphenates “president-elect” but leaves “vice president elect” open. Would “vice president–elect” (with an en dash) not be more consistent? And why is “president-elect” hyphenated even when the term doesn’t precede a noun?
Q. I know an em dash marks an interruption in dialogue:
“I thought I might—”
“Might what?” she demanded.
But what happens if the same person speaks after the interruption? For example, “Can you bring me a— socket wrench, is that what you call it?” Is that space after the em dash correct?
Q. Should “time travel” be hyphenated as a verb? CMOS 5.25 says it’s okay to use nouns as verbs, but there are no two-word examples. “Time travel” isn’t even in M-W!
Q. CMOS does not mention uses of the en dash for conflict or connection, as in “the liberal–conservative debate” or “the Radical–Unionist coalition.” Should it be inferred that CMOS opposes such uses?