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hyphens: titles of office

1. Hyphenate compounds with the endings elect and designate:

  • president-elect
  • minister-designate

2. Hyphenate most titles beginning with the prefix vice:

  • vice-president
  • vice-chairman

Exceptions: viceroy, vicereine, viceregal

3. Hyphenate the names of certain military and administrative positions in which a noun is followed by another noun, by an adjective or by a prepositional phrase:

  • Lieutenant-Governor
  • secretary-general
  • aide-de-camp
  • Commander-in-Chief
  • sergeant-at-arms

There are, however, many common exceptions to this rule; the following are some examples:

  • Governor General
  • Governor in Council
  • Judge Advocate General
  • Solicitor General
  • Receiver General for Canada

Note that in Canadian usage the hyphen is used in compounds designating military ranks such as Lieutenant-General, Vice-Admiral and Rear-Admiral, whereas the American practice is to omit the hyphen. Similarly, the official title of the second-highest-ranking official of the United States is Vice President.