Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes

Q. Is it your recommendation to still use a hyphen in a phrases like “mid-1985”? If so, then would it be best to write “mid- to late 1985”?

Q. In sports, does the score require a hyphen or should you use an en dash? What about decisions on the Supreme Court?

Q. Are there compounds that are always hyphenated, such as “up-to-date” or “step-by-step,” or are these only hyphenated when modifying another word, as in “up-to-date rules” or “step-by-step procedures”? My company is writing “We’ll walk you through it step by step,” and I thought that it should be “We’ll walk you through it step-by-step.”

Q. Please help! My British colleagues keep giving me books to proofread (for US publication, so they should be in American style) in which phrases like “parent-teacher relationship” and “human-animal bond” contain an en dash rather than a hyphen. Chicago says that if either “parent” or “teacher” were an open compound (such as, I suppose, “math teacher”), an en dash would be appropriate—so am I to conclude that since this is not the case I should use a hyphen? As far as I can tell, none of the examples in the section on hyphenation pertain to this construction. Are the en dashes correct, or are they just British?

Q. Dear CMOS, I am experiencing a meltdown at work. My colleagues believe that “test taker” is one word, while I believe that it should be hyphenated as “test-taker.” I am also unclear, after reading the CMOS, about another form of this phrase, “test taking.” If I write, “It is an important strategy for test taking,” should “test-taking” be hyphenated? Thank you for your help. This has become a highly debated issue within our office and I would love to resolve it once and for all.

Q. I’m copyediting a novel in which the author has gone hyphen-mad. She is fond of such terms as “horse-yard,” “juniper-wood,” “yard-gate,” “cedar-grove,” and so on. I want to defer to an author’s stylistic preferences, but I feel too much is too much. In most cases, the meaning seems perfectly clear without a hyphen. What can I say to this author?

Q. The menu in our cafeteria shows that enchiladas are available “Tues.–Fri.” However, when I ordered one on a Wednesday, I was informed that enchiladas are available on Tuesday AND Friday, not Tuesday THROUGH Friday. When I informed the cafeteria manager that this was incorrect, she seemed shocked and refused to change the sign. Please help determine who is correct!

Q. According to CMOS table 6.1 (14th ed.), a noun plus a participle would have a hyphen, and the prefix “non” is a closed compound. So, my question is how would you hyphenate the word “nonlife-threatening” or would you avoid such a word altogether? Thanks.

Q. Hi. I work for a county auditor’s office which publishes a voters’ guide for each general election and primary. Each candidate writes his or her own statement to the voters, as do supporters and opponents of ballot measures. In the interest of space and fairness, we limit the number of words each writer can use. Our recurring question: should we count a hyphenated word group (such as “32-year-old”) as one word or three? I’m in favor of counting such constructions as one word. What’s your vote? Thanks!

Q. My reputable dictionaries give “transpacific” and “transatlantic” but not “transindian.” On its own, “his transindian voyage” would probably be ambiguous, but if I were to write “his transpacific, transatlantic, and transindian voyages were remarkable feats,” there would appear to be little risk of ambiguity. Would you consider that acceptable? If not, how should I express such a thing?