September 2020: Using hyphens in Danish and English

2020.09.08 | LVS/CKR

Image: Andersen Jensen, Unsplash

Hyphens are used to ‘glue’ words together to avoid confusion or ambiguity. However, in Danish and English, hyphens are used in different ways. Below, we have provided examples of when to use (and when not to use) hyphens in Danish and English.


  1. Abbreviations    
    DK: CO2-udledning
    UK: CO2 emission

    DK: ph.d.-studerende
    UK: PhD student

  2. Prefixes
    A prefix is a letter or set of letters placed before the stem word to form a different word. In English, the following prefixes are always hyphenated: ‘all-’, ‘cross-’, ‘ex-’ og ‘self-’. 

    DK: ekskone
    UK: ex-wife

    DK: selvbetjening
    UK: self-service

    If a prefix ends in the same vowel that the stem word starts with, you separate them with a hyphen, e.g. ‘re-election’.

  3. Suffixes
    A suffix is a letter or set of letters added at the end of a stem word to form a different word. In Danish, hyphenated suffixes are mostly used in connection with abbreviations, whereas they are more commonly used with hyphens in English – and always after the following suffixes: ‘-type’, ‘-elect’ og ‘-designate’.

    DK: en IT-agtig person
    UK: an IT-like person
    UK: Please use 12-point bold-type font  

  4. Omitted words
    DK: Erhvervs- og samfundsvidenskabelige discipliner
    UK: Business and social science disciplines

    Note! Always include a hyphen in compound adjectives if you omit a word. For example, ‘on-campus and off-campus teaching’ must be written ‘on- and off-campus teaching’ if you leave out the first ‘campus’.
Language Services, Staff

Previous language tips

2020.11.12 | Language Services, Staff

A line is not just a line

November 2020: Hyphens and dashes

2020.10.09 | Language Services, Staff


October 2020: Compound adjectives and their -

2020.06.02 | Staff, Language Services

Welcome to the jungle (of job titles)

June 2020: Job titles in English

2020.03.06 | Staff, Language Services

Double-up – or not

March 2020: Double-letter or single-letter spelling in English words

2020.02.10 | Staff, Language Services

When to use ’a’ versus ’an’

February 2020

2020.01.15 | Staff, Language Services

Subject-verb agreement in English

January 2020: Examples of common pitfalls

2019.11.14 | Language Services, Staff

Lower- or uppercase letters

November 2019: When to use lowercase and uppercase letters in your academic writing?

2019.10.14 | Language Services, Staff

Machine translation

October 2019: Google Translate: Proceed with caution

2019.08.16 | Language Services, Staff

Dot or comma

August 2019: How to separate thousands and decimals in English

2019.05.14 | Language Services, Staff

Parallelism in bullet lists

May 2019: Improve the readability of your bullet lists

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