¡La Esquina de la Gramática! Rule 10
Prefixes in Spanish… hyphen or not?
Prefixes are affix elements that lack autonomy, and they are placed before a lexical base. Below are the rules to follow when you use them in Spanish.
- They always go right next to the base word when the base word is universal (only one word):
Exjefe, exnovio, exministro, provida, vicesecretario, superaburrido, etc.
Then, it would be incorrect to use a hyphen or leave a space in the following cases:
Anti-mafia or anti mafia
Anti-cancerígeno or anti cancerígeno
- If there are several prefixes, same thing, you don't leave any spaces or a hyphen in between:
- The only two instances when we need to use a hyphen are: 1) When the base word starts with a capital letter, for example: anti-ALCA, mini-USB, pro-Obama. That way you don’t have a lower case right next to a capital letter case. 2) When the base word is a number: sub-21.
- Also, when the base word is made of several words (multi-verbal), you need to leave a space after the prefix:
Ex relaciones públicas
Anti pena de muerte