Guidelines on style for scientific writing

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  • Use your spelling checker to decide whether to include a hyphen with a prefix. If the word is not recognized without a hyphen, put one in. Examples: non-athlete, ultra-marathon, pre-treatment. [APA: use a hyphen only with self-.]

  • Here is the paradigm example of hyphenation of adjectives or nouns: a clear-cut case. (If you wrote a clear cut case, you would imply a cut case that was clear. The emphasis in pronunciation also provides a clue.) More examples: role-playing technique, two-way analysis of variance, high-anxiety group. Hyphenation is not necessary if the first word is an adverb or comparative adjective (according to APA, anyway): widely used text, randomly assigned subjects, higher anxiety group.

  • Note also: t-test results, but results of t tests; student-centered teaching, but the teaching was student centered.

  • Note also: long- and short-term memory; 2-, 5-, and 10-min trials.

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