View Full Version : Interesting Problem: Two Unconnected Dashes, One Phrase

05-21-2018, 10:54 AM
Title says it all: Is this properly written: 'non-cost-correlated'. (If you're curious, it's about an oligopoly pricing consumables beyond the normative bounds of rising costs).

It looks cumbersome, but I can't figure out an alternative.

Thanks in advance! :)

05-21-2018, 01:18 PM
What's the whole sentence?

05-21-2018, 10:14 PM
As Bufty said, without a little more context, it's hard to say. But my initial reaction would be to render this phrase as "not cost-correlated" rather than "non-cost-correlated". That might require a little rewrite of the entire sentence, but shouldn't be difficult to do. If it is a problem to rewrite, then you probably have bigger issues than just this phrase.


05-22-2018, 04:31 AM
An en dash is used for a hyphenated compound where one of the parts of the compound is more than one word. So you could do: non–cost correlated. Other examples when you'd use an en dash: "Pulitzer Prize–winning," "New York Times–bestselling," etc.

AW Admin
05-22-2018, 05:26 AM
This is CMOS FAQ is a good discussion of the en-dash (http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/qanda/data/faq/topics/HyphensEnDashesEmDashes/faq0002.html); it's primarily used for ranges.

The older custom of using an en-dash for a prefix used with an open compound is fading; most typographers just use a hyphen.

A traditionalist would set non cost correlated with a leading en-dash:

non–cost correlated.

Cost correlated is not normally hyphenated; non is a prefix particle, so a traditionalist would use it with an en-dash and not a hyphen. But honestly, that's very old-school.

But I suspect given the context, I'd go with blacbird's suggested rewrite.

05-22-2018, 09:54 AM
Cool...I appreciate the help. Thanks all!