I'm a non native English speaker writing a dissertation in British English. I'm trying to understand whether I should write the word "subquestion" with or without hyphen.

This English stackexchange post seems to suggest writing it without a hyphen if I understand correctly? However I also took a look at Google ngrams and it suggest the hyphened version is way more common post 2000.

Which would be the best way to spell the word?


2 Answers 2


Hyphen usage changes all the time and it is largely a matter of style. I like the hyphen and would use sub-question in this case. See this BBC article: Small object of grammatical desire. Until you have developed your own preferences (and learned when hyphens are really necessary), buy a good dictionary and stick to its recommendations. Opinions differ, so if you just search for recommendations on-line, your hyphenation will be all over the place. Alternatively, always use the same on-line dictionary.

  • Thanks for your answer! I got confused in the first place because I was using multiple contradicting sources. I'll stick to one source and just follow it's style from now on.
    – EpicSam
    Sep 29, 2016 at 12:10
  • "On-line"? Really?
    – gosuto
    Nov 17, 2019 at 9:47

You should use the recommendation of whatever style guide your university or dissertation chair allows or requires.

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