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Use as two words without a hyphen in all cases, unless the term is treated differently as part of a proper name.

  • The program provided young children with access to quality health care.
  • Health care benefits are part of the company’s compensation package.
  • The VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System benefits many veterans.


See Departments, Offices, Programs, Schools section.


See Special Events section.


UPMC, or University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is the umbrella organization for most of the hospitals and clinical activities associated with the University.

(See Appendix 5 for names of UPMC hospitals.)

When referencing the hospitals or clinical activities as a whole, use University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) on first reference or just UPMC when the audience would be familiar with UPMC. On subsequent references, use UPMC. Do not use UPMC Health System. When referencing a specific hospital, see Appendix 5 for first and subsequent reference information.


For the proper use of hyphens, dashes, en dashes, and em dashes, consult CM15 6.80–96 and 7.82–90 or CM14 5.105–21 and 6.32–52. (Also see Dashes section.)

  1. Most two-word compound adjectives are hyphenated when placed before the noun.
    • Aspirin is usually a fast-acting medication.
    • The artist uses high-quality metals in his jewelry.
    • The committee followed the established decision-making process.
    • Many art galleries feature 17th- and 18th-century art.
    • Most investors are interested in risk-free ventures.
    • Erica and Jon swam in an Olympic-size pool.
    • She is a full-time student.
    • He lives in on-campus housing.
  2. Compound adjectives of three or more words are hyphenated when placed before the noun.
    • It was strictly a spur-of-the-moment decision.
  3. When the words that make up a compound adjective follow the noun they modify, they are not hyphenated.
    • Decisions made on the spur of the moment are generally not good ones.
    • The main streets in the town were tree lined.
    • The investment was virtually risk free.
    • He attends the college part time.
    • She lives on campus.
  4. Do not hyphenate between an adverb ending in -ly and an adjective.
    • He is a highly skilled craftsman.
  5. Do hyphenate all compound adjectives where the second adjective ends in -ed.
    • He is a high-spirited youngster.
  6. Use hyphens with nouns that represent different and equally important functions when they form a single expression.
    • Sparta was an important city-state in Greece.
    • This award recognizes exceptional student-athletes.
    • The schools of the health sciences are home to many notable physician-scientists.
  7. The following prefixes are generally not hyphenated. They are hyphenated when (1) the second element is capitalized or is a figure, e.g., post-Victorian, pro-Soviet, pre-1960s; (2) there is a homonym, e.g., to recover a lost object and to re-cover a couch; or (3) use of a hyphen avoids a strange vowel connection, e.g., anti-inflation, co-owner, etc.

    ante inter non sub
    anti intra over super
    bi macro post supra
    bio meta pre trans
    co micro pro ultra
    counter mid pseudo un
    extra mini re under
    infra multi semi  
    • Postmaster Ken Smith is a post-master’s degree student.
    • But:
    • Ken Jones is a postdoctoral student.
  8. Almost all self- and ex- compounds are hyphenated except selfless, selfish, and selfsame.
    • I will not indulge in self-pity.
    • His ex-wife is coming to the wedding.
  9. Suffixes are rarely hyphenated. Exceptions include some forms of -wide and -like. (CM15 7.90; CM14 Table 6.1)
    • The statewide initiative was successful.
    • The policy on antidiscrimination is University-wide at Pitt.
    • The instrument had a chime-like sound.

*News exceptions, see Appendix 6.