Chicago Style Workout 41: Prefixes

Are you “pre-pared”?

This month’s Chicago style workout focuses on the fourth and last section of our hyphenation table, “Words Formed with Prefixes.”

You’ll find the hyphenation table under paragraph 7.89 in CMOS 17.

Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the table or consult the searchable PDF version for easier navigation. (For a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online, click here.)

Note: Style guides and dictionaries sometimes disagree. This quiz is designed to test your knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. For terms formed with prefixes, CMOS 17 generally follows Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) or the dictionary at (where the two sources differ, prefer the latter), though some of the terms that appear in this quiz are not listed in either dictionary.

Chicago Style Workout 41: Prefixes

1. Most compounds formed with prefixes (e.g., anti, multi, pre) are hyphenated.
2. A prefix that results in two consecutive a’s or i’s usually requires a hyphen (e.g., anti-inflammatory).
3. A prefix that results in two consecutive e’s or o’s never requires a hyphen (e.g., deemphasize).
4. Prefixes that result in two consecutive consonants always require a hyphen (e.g., counter-revolution).
5. Prefixes that would not result in a doubled letter never require a hyphen (e.g., destress).
6. When two prefixes apply to the same word, and the first one stands alone, a suspended hyphen is required (e.g., over- and underfed).
7. A prefix is normally joined to a proper noun or adjective with a hyphen and remains lowercase (e.g., sub-Saharan).
8. When a prefix is joined to an open compound, an en dash is used instead of a hyphen.
9. The terms Pre-Raphaelite (with a capital P) and transatlantic (no hyphen, lowercase a) are exceptions to the rule for joining prefixes to proper nouns or adjectives.
10. Chicago’s preferred spelling is unselfconscious, not un-self-conscious.


Top image: Perfect Form (US Air Force photo by Todd Ryan).

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