Which would be the proper style for a scientific publication:

  1. It is required that a, b, and, depending on a and b, c is given.

  2. It is required that a, b, and - depending on a and b - c is given.

  3. It is required that a, b, and (depending on a and b) c is given.

Thank you!

  • 1
    I'm not sure I like any of them, but I don't have any better suggestions right now. Think it should be 'are given', though. Feb 3, 2021 at 18:50
  • Hyphens are for joining words together. What you might want here is a dash — definitely not a hyphen.
    – TRiG
    Mar 11, 2021 at 23:13

2 Answers 2


Personally, I would prefer choice 2. But almost all scientific publications specify a specific style guide or have their own house style guide. What style guide is this publication using? That may directly answer the question. If it doesn't, it may still give some guidance on the matter. An effort should be made to follow the announced style guide. Failing any guidance there one should look to recent issues to see how such constructions are typically handled, and how to be consistent with them.

  • 1
    @Funkwecker, Yes, refer to the style guide of your target publications. This is not so much a matter your or anyone's personal taste, but about conforming to the publication submission guides. It it is not covered, the make your best choice, the editors will fix it.
    – EDL
    Jun 23, 2022 at 19:04

I prefer the parenthetical one. All are acceptable, except: Do not use a HYPHEN (-) as a DASH. An abrupt break in a sentence requires an "em" dash, a specific typographical character that is about as long as two hyphens. In the old typewriter days, two hyphens were used, in fact. Today, insert the em-dash as a special character or symbol. In Windows, hold down ALT and type 0151 on the numeric keypad to insert an em-dash in most programs.

  • 3
    FYI, an em-dash is one em wide. (One em is the type's point size, so an em-dash in 12-point type is 12 points wide.) An en-dash is usually about half as wide (one en), and a hyphen is narrower still. Feb 8, 2021 at 20:45

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