Last week I developed a list of joined prefixes that do not require a hyphen.
Today I will share a list of prefixes that are hyphenated.
“Self-” is always hyphenated.
Examples: self-adhesive, self-assessment, self-assured, self-contempt, self-critical, self-defeating,
self-defense, self-directed, self-doubt, self-educated, self-evaluation, self-imposed, self-improvement, self-renewal, and self-restraint
“Post-” is always hyphenated when the second part of the word is capitalized.
Examples: post-Cambrian, post-Darwinian, post-Freudian, post-Victorian
According to the AP Style Guide, the prefix “post-” is usually a joined prefix, i.e., without a hyphen.
Examples: postseason, postwar, postdoctoral, postdated, postscript
The AP Style Guide suggests following Webster’s New World dictionary,
which has a relatively long list of non-hyphenated “post-” words, and if it’s not listed there, hyphenate the word.
However, the SPE Style Guide says “post-” should be hyphenated all the time.
Knowing how eagerly engineers run to the dictionary every time they want to hyphenate a prefix,
I would recommend going with the SPE Style Guide, just for the sake of expediency.
In short, go ahead and hyphenate “self-” and “post-” words.
Except “selfish” and “post office,” of course.