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?


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.

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  • 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 '16 at 12:10
  • "On-line"? Really? – jorijnsmit Nov 17 '19 at 9:47

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

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