In a sentence:

He considered visitors during {the?} then current off-season to be cognizant of bear presence in the area?

Also, should then-current be hyphenated?

  • Yes, need "the," and yes, probably should be hyphenated.
    – Languagemaven
    Nov 20, 2015 at 23:22
  • The reasoning behind hypenated then-current is because it is a two-word modifier, just like two-word is. Some people prefer that usage. A good general rule is that hyphens should be used only to avoid confusion or ambiguity. But some uses, such as off-season are customary, although the trend over time is always toward getting rid of the hyphen, thus the use of offseason by some. Just like to-day and to-morrow used to be the standard spellings of those words.
    – user20792
    Nov 28, 2015 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


Yes, the sentence requires "the then ...", however it does not require a hyphen in then current (yet it is certainly commonly seen).

I would also not spell cognizant with a "z", but that is an Australian-English preference for the consistent use of "s".

  • Thank you!! is there a reasoning behind then-current vs then current?
    – Isaac Pounder
    Nov 21, 2015 at 0:45
  • I'm sure some searching would provide a lot of detailed discussion. But to my mind, there needs to be a definite pause between "then" and "current", or any other word where this is used (the then president, etc). But putting a hyphen in not only looks untidy, but it eliminates the required pause.
    – Cargill
    Nov 22, 2015 at 9:15
  • @Cargill Yes, I wouldn't use a hyphen, as you said it looks very messy. Nov 26, 2015 at 19:32
  • We usually spell it with a ‹z› in American English. Take a look at GloWbE if you want to see how often each spelling is used in different countries.
    – user230
    Nov 26, 2015 at 19:48

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