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PerfectIt checks if commonly used compound phrases appear both with and without hyphens.

It will suggest there may be a possible issue if similar compounds appear in both forms.

Specifically, it checks:

  • Compass directions such as ‘north-east’

  • Numbers such as ‘thirty-four’

  • Fractions such as ‘one-fourth’

  • Specific compound prefixes such as ‘anti’, ‘hyper’ and ‘pre’


Style guides differ somewhat on the hyphenation of compound words.

However, within each type of compound, authors should be consistent.

A compound that is hyphenated in one part of the document should be hyphenated in the rest of the document.


Examples for each type of prefix that PerfectIt checks are shown below:

  • Compass directions: PerfectIt will suggest there may be an issue if ‘north-east’ and ‘south west’ appear in the same document.

  • Numbers: PerfectIt will suggest there may be an issue if ‘thirty-four’ and ‘sixty six’ appear in the same document.

  • Fractions: PerfectIt will suggest there may be an issue if ‘one-fourth’ and ‘one fifth’ appear in the same document.

  • Prefixes: PerfectIt will suggest there may be an issue if ‘pre-lunch’ and ‘pre dinner’ appear in the same document.

More on Prefixes

This check is complementary to the Hyphenation Consistency checks and, when used in conjunction with them, makes the process of checking for consistency more powerful.

This is because:

  • The hyphenation compared to two words check (part of the Hyphenation of Phrases check) ignores any prefixes that are checked in the compound prefixes check.

  • The hyphenation compared to a single word check (part of the Hyphenation of Words check) will find a word containing a prefix if it appears both with and without a hyphen.

  • The compound prefixes check (part of the Compound Words check) checks a specific list of prefixes. It ensures that the hyphenation of any that were not picked up by the Hyphenation of Words check is consistent, no matter what the second word is.

More on Fractions

In some house styles, all fractions are hyphenated. However, in others, fractions are hyphenated only in their adjectival use. For instance, with this rule:

  • ‘She is one-quarter English’ would be hyphenated;

  • ‘He ate one quarter of the pie’ would not be hyphenated.

PerfectIt checks whether all fractions are hyphenated or not. Users wishing to make this distinction can use PerfectIt to find inconsistent hyphenation and then check each location for adjectival use.

Customizing the Check

You can set hyphenation preferences for fractions, numbers and compass directions in the Settings tab of the style sheet editor.

You can set preferences for prefixes in the Prefixes tab.

Alternatively, you can customize the check as you work.