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Hi again!

I was reading the "Compounds Formed with Word Elements" section of Merriam-Webster's Guide to Punctuation and Style, but still have this question: "Agrifood" (needs the hyphen or not?) The book says that "except as specified.... below, compounds formed from a prefix and a word are usually written solid. That would include "Agrifood". But if I search in the Internet, most of the texts I find use "Agri-food", which makes me think that "Agri-food" is the most common use. Help please!

Thanks!

Hellen
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Hi Hellen,

I would say agri-food. My reasoning is that, in terms of everyday language at least, it is a neologism and the hyphen helps to clarify the meaning.

A word like agriculture, on the other hand, is common and well-established.

Best wishes, Clive
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HellenVareBut if I search in the Internet, most of the texts I find use "Agri-food", which makes me think that "Agri-food" is the most common use.

The question is a little cloudy, as "Agrifood" seems to appear as part of various company names (e.g. AgriFood).

Sometimes you hyphenate a word because the non-hyphenated form, though regular, would look odd. Thus most people put a hyphen after the prefix co in "co-operative", because "cooperative" seems to relate either to chickens or barrels.

It's possible that "Agrifood" looks a little odd to those who hyphenate it. (It looks odd to me, for instance; probably because of the "f".)

MrP
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Your answer will depend on what you call a prefix.

I would call the following letters prefixes: un-, mulit-, pre-, post-, and dis-.

In my opnion, 'agri-food' is a word formed by combining two words, 'agriculture' and 'food'.

On the other hand, a dictionary lists both 'agro-' and 'agri-' as prefixes. I suppose that is why neither 'agriculture' nor 'agribusiness' has a hyphen.
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