A prefix is a letter or letters inserted at the begging of a word to change the meaning of the root word, such as, “un-” (unreliable), “re-” (repay), “sub-” (submarine), “post-” (postscript)
- Pan-American Highway
- pre-Christmas sale
- sub-Sahara Desert
- pre-emergence pesticide
- (recover = to retrieve or re-cover = to put on a new cover)
- She wanted to recover from the crash; she spent three days in the hospital.
- She wanted to recover the couch; it had been stolen.
- She wanted to re-cover the couch; it was all tattered and worn.
When such verb phrases are used as nouns, insert a hyphen.
- The gas blow-up destroyed several houses.
- Five prisoners escaped during the break-out.
- I’m tired of his constant put-downs.
In the days of the typewriter, the word would be split between syllables. Any sentence containing the words “supercalifragilistic” or “antidisestablishmentarianism” is likely to leave a long space at the end of the line. A hyphen between syllables solves the problem.
However, this use of hyphens is no longer as popular as computers use a proportional font.
You may need to refer to a dictionary. Your word processor may count both sections as misspelled.
- supervisor (su-per-vi-sor)
- processor (pro-ces-sor)
- (break words between double consonants)
- establishment (e-stab-lish-ment)
- interactive (in-ter-ac-tive)