Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

pre, post

In most instances, a hyphen is not needed to connect the prefixes post and pre to words.

  • Samantha and Rick attended prenatal classes before the birth of their first child.
  • Enrolling in postsecondary education can lead to a brighter future.

However, a hyphen is used in the following cases:

  • when the root word starts with a capital:
    • The museum has many trilobites in its Pre-Cambrian fossil collection.
    • Is this an example of pre- or post-World War II architecture?
  • when the root word begins with the same letter as the last letter in the prefix:
    • Dr. Keon is a pre-eminent heart surgeon.
    • Some veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • when you add post or pre to a compound:
    • Pre-nineteenth-century art focussed mainly on religious themes.
    • Applicants taking part in the literacy test were given pre‑high school texts to read.
  • when you connect pre or post to numbers:
    • Current fashions mimic pre-1980s styles.
    • The exhibit focussed on the artist’s post-1920s drawings and lithographs.