Prefix RE- With or Without Hyphen


Prefixes are letters that are added onto the beginning of a word to change its meaning. For example:
RE + READ = REREAD (read again)
Re is a common prefix and it means “again”. When adding re to a verb, most of the time, you don’t need to use a hyphen:

  • I want you to rewrite this essay. (write again)
  • I tried to retrace my steps to find where I’d left my keys. (go over again)
  • We’ll readdress this issue at the next meeting. (address again)
  • Your credentials have expired. You can’t access your inbox until it’s reauthorized. (authorized again)
  • Reconnect with your old friends on Facebook. (connect again)

However, there are times when it’s necessary to use a hyphen to avoid confusion. Take a look at this example:

  • I resent my parents for being so strict.
  • I re-sent the message.

If you didn’t use the hyphen in the word “re-sent”, it would be spelt “resent”, which is a totally different word, meaning “feel angry or bitter about something”.
Another example:

  • The director had to resign after the scandal.
  • I can’t find my copy. Could you re-sign this contract for me, please?

Resign means “announcing that you are leaving your job”. If you mean “sign again”, you need to  hyphenate the word so that it doesn’t get confused with “resign”.

Recommended for you: A BIG List of Prefixes and Suffixes and Their Meanings

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