Hyphen ( - )

To separate the words in a compound adjective, verb, or adverb.


When to hyphenate:

Backup/back-up, startup/start-up, runtime/run-time, login/log-in, etc.

Use one word when used as a noun.We provide a reliable power supply backup.
Use hyphen when used as an adjective.We suggest a back-up power supply.
Use two words when used as a verb.Back up your power supply.
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Single mode and multimode

When used to describe a product, hyphenateA single-mode terminal block
When used as a noun, use two wordsChoose single mode

Prefixes and suffixes (e.g., multimode)

In general, do not use a hyphen to set off a prefix at the beginning of a word or a suffix at the end of a word.

Therefore, multimode should be used as one word.

Here are a few important exceptions to this rule:

When the prefix ends in “i” or “a” and the following word begins with the same vowel, use the hyphen.
  • Multi-institutional
  • Ultra-active
Hyphenate the word whenever not doing so can lead to misreading.
  • Buy a co-op.
  • Chickens are in the coop.
  • Multiply by 20.
  • Use multi-ply fabric.
  • It is a unionized factory.
  • It is an un-ionized product.

En dash (–)

To express a range of values or a distance12 – 24 inches
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Em dash (—)

To separate the final part of a sentence that is logically not part of the sentence.Phoenix Contact offers various types of cables — copper, fiber optic and photovoltaic, among them.
To set off parenthetical elements, which are abrupt.The PC — with a fanless design — increases system availability.
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Semicolon ( ; )

To join independent clauses in compound sentences that do not have coordinating conjunctions and commas as connectorsAutomation can be costly and complex; however, with the right control solution, it can become simple and cost-effective.
To separate items in a series that already includes commasPhoenix Contact has offices in the following United States cities: Houston, Texas; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Middletown, Pennsylvania.
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Colon ( : )

After an independent clause that precedes a listPhoenix Contact hand tools offer the following benefits: durability, comfort, interchangeability and reliability.
To separate an explanation, rule or example from a preceding independent clauseWe call it functional safety: reliable protection for people and machinery.
When depicting time, to separate hour and minutesThe typical work day begins at 8:00.
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Apostrophe ( ’ )

To indicate ownership by a proper nounThe president’s office is on the first floor.
To indicate ownership by a plural nounThe employees’ vehicles are parked in the parking lot.
Within a contractionDo not becomes: don’t.
To abbreviate a year2012 becomes: ‘12.

DO NOT use an apostrophe when:

  • Indicating ownership using the word “it”
  • Indicating a plural
  • Making an abbreviation or acronym plural


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Comma ( , )

To separate elements in a seriesCrimping, cutting, electronics, and riveting tools are available.
To connect two independent clausesThe cable was disconnected, thus the system was unable to run.
To separate introductory clausesBecause of the ergonomic handle design, the hand tools allow natural hand posture.
To separate city and state when depicting locationMiddletown, Pennsylvania

Note: A comma should never be used between a subject and its verb.

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Exclamation Point ( ! )

  • Within a quotation
  • After interjections, such as “Wow!”
  • To express surprise, astonishment, or any other strong emotion to add additional emphasis

Note: Exclamation points should be used sparingly, particularly in formal writing. In addition, multiple exclamation points following a sentence should be avoided.

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Do not put a period at the end of bullet points.

  • Only one sentence per bullet
  • If it can’t be combined, add another bullet
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Flachsmarktstraße 8
D-32825 Blomberg
+49 5235 3-00