Handy Hyphenation Chart

Hyphenation is a real problem for writers. There are so many rules, and sometimes no consistency to them. The best advice I can give you is to get a CD of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, and download it onto your computer. I use it all the time, every day, as it is the accepted authority in book publishing. (Note: The CD is included in the paperback book in the back, so this way you will have the book as a reference too.)

The Chicago Manual of Style takes precedence over M-W, though, so I encourage you to download this CMOS Hyphenation Chart from CMOS 16th Edition, print it out, and refer to it whenever you are unsure whether a word should be hyphenated or not. Often CMOS will refer you to check M-W for their take on a particular word, so you need both tools. With both of these resources at your fingertips, you will be able to go through your book and clean it up. Remember—your spell-checker will steer you wrong a lot! It will often tag some words as not being in the dictionary when they are correct, and it will sometimes let a misspelling slip through, so use your spell-checker judiciously!

9 Responses to “Handy Hyphenation Chart”

  1. Angela Ackerman July 27, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    This is an awesome find–thanks for sharing it! I’ll put this one on my @WriterThesaurus feed, too!


  2. Melissa Maygrove July 27, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    What a great resource! Thanks! 🙂

  3. Lorna Faith July 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Wow…this will come in handy:) Thanks so much Susanne!

  4. Hunter July 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    Great resource to use, thanks.

  5. Elizabeth VARADAN July 31, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Great share. Thanks so much.

  6. Pamela August 23, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Thank you for the handy link! I tend to use the MLA stylebook, but I’m quite sure that hyphenation is relatively standardized across styles. It’s so helpful to have these reminders on such pesky, but important, details.

    • cslakin August 23, 2012 at 10:48 am #

      Actually, Pamela, CMOS is quite different in so many ways from other style, and especially with punctuation, so it’s good to refer to this if you are writing a book. A college paper with MLA format will have some different styles, so be sure to check this over when working on a book.

  7. Nancy A Caldwell March 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    I am reading Say What? and find it to be a most helpful book that discusses many common grammar errors. Thank you C.S. Lakin for writing it. Nancy Ann Caldwell

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