Hyphen and Prefixes

One of the most frequent doubts concerning Portuguese grammar is when to add the hyphen to a word. It’s natural this subject raises doubt, especially after New Orthographic Agreement. So today’s post will be dedicated to explaining the hyphen uses and help you write in Portuguese with extra confidence. Let’s also take the opportunity to talk about the prefixes’ meanings.

1st and universal rule

a) An encounter of same letters – hyphen.
b) An encounter of different letters – no hyphen.

Anti-inflamatório (‘anti-‘: opposition; contrary action)
Micro-ondas (‘micro-‘: very small; 10-6)
Contra-ataque (‘contra-‘: opposition)
Anteontem (‘ante-‘: prior)
Autoaprendizagem (‘auto-‘: oneself)
Infraestrutura (‘infra-‘: inferiority; base)

The ‘H’

The hyphen should be employed when any letter and ‘h’ encounter.

Super-homem (‘super-‘: infers special capacity)
Pré-história (‘pré-‘: before the beginning; preparation)
Co-herdeiro* (‘co-‘: concomitance)

The prefixes ‘co-‘, ‘re-‘ and ‘pre-‘

No hyphen should be used.

Reentrada (‘re-‘: repetition; reciprocity)

Prefixes that require the hyphen

We should use the hyphen for the following prefixes:
‘pós-‘ (posterity)
‘pró-‘ (favorable)
‘ex-‘ (past; previous)
‘sota-‘ (inferior; substitute)
‘soto-‘ (inferior; substitute)
‘vice-‘ (substitute of)


The ‘r’ and the ‘s’

a) Close to vowels, no hyphen and double.
Suprarrenal (‘supra-‘: superior position; excess)
Minissaia (‘mini-‘: tiny)
Semirreta (‘semi-‘: two parts division)
b) Close to other consonants, hyphen. (Like the universal rule)
Inter-relacionado (‘inter-‘: intermediate position)
Sub-regiões (‘sub-‘: inferiority; movement from the bottom to top)


That is all I’ve got right now, hope it’s useful. Wish you the best on your journey learning Portuguese!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s