Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes

Q. I need to know the difference between a soft and hard hyphen in regard to proofing marks. Can you please help me out? Thank you kindly.

Q. Is the prefix “non” always used without the hyphen now? For example: nonresponse, as opposed to non-response.

Q. Editors at the three campuses of the University of Illinois are questioning the use of hyphens in these terms for a report: Native-American students or Native American students? African-American students or African American students? Asian-American students or Asian American students? All three campuses are using hyphens for the second two examples, but not for the first. We aren’t able to say why exactly, and I wasn’t able to find an answer in CMOS. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.

Q. What is an en dash?

Q. Should the word “pre-dewatering” be hyphenated?

Q. A coeditor and I have a difference of opinion with regard to the following as it relates to “spare use” of hyphens. I maintain that hyphens are necessary because both words together modify the noun that follows. My coeditor thinks they aren’t needed. Can you settle the debate? Here are some examples: “IBM-based software” or “IBM based software” “End-user documentation” or “end user documentation”

Q. I have a coworker—in a different department, I’m relieved to say—who insists that superlatives and comparatives should be hyphenated (for example, “That is the most-ridiculous rule in the history of the written word”). This particular coworker is, alas, in a position of considerable authority, and has cajoled (and, where necessary, bullied) others into following her overly hyphenated copyediting style. I have looked in vain for some sort of authoritative explanation regarding superlatives and comparatives, to no avail. I sincerely hope you will come to my rescue.

Q. Do I treat “as and when required” with a suspended hyphen when adjectival? E.g.: “an as- and when-required basis.” Or join up: “an as-and-when-required basis.” Unfortunately, we’re stuck with transcribing substantially verbatim legislative debates.

Q. Does hyphenation render a diaeresis redundant? Because it wrapped to another line, the word naïveté was rendered as na-ïveté.  Should this appear in print as na-iveté?

Q. I’m taking a popular online copyediting course. One of my answers to a quiz was marked wrong because I failed to identify “early-warning system” as an instance of incorrect hyphen usage. According to the answer key, this is incorrect because adverbs ending in -ly should not be followed with hyphens. I think early is used as an adjective in this example and should therefore take a hyphen.