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Do I always need to put a hyphen in "по-английски" or are there some rules telling us when I should and when I should not do so?

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    Hyphen is considered to be a part of word, it is orthography, not punctuation. – Olga Jul 27 '12 at 14:28
  • Hyphen is not always a part of the word - consider the case when the hyphen is used for syllabification (разбивание на слоги) or as a carry-over sign (знак переноса). Thus, it is a punctuation sign. – brilliant Jul 28 '12 at 2:33
  • Oh, yes, you're right. It just didn't seem right to me that something within a word could be considered a punctuation mark. But one cannot argue with a Большая советская энциклопедия =)) – Olga Jul 28 '12 at 10:51
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"По-английски" is an adverb that is derived from a full-formed adjective "английский" and that ends with "ки".

According to the rules of Russian spelling (Rosental, D.E.), such adverbs are written with a hyphen. You can find the original rule down the link, and here is its translation into English:

Adverbs with prefix по- and endings -ому, -ему, -ки, -ьи that are derived from a full-formed adjectives or pronouns are written with a hyphen. For example: работать по-новому, пусть будет по-вашему, советовать по-дружески, говорить по-французски, хитрить по-лисьи, по-видимому, по-пустому, по-прежнему. Also: сделаем по-серёжиному (derived from a possessive adjective серёжин, which stems from proper name Серёжа).

Also, "по-английски" is always an adverb. It cannot be seen as a combination of a preposition and an adjective, because no adjective can have ending и in dative case with which preposition по is used. That means that "по-английски" is always written with a hyphen.

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In the way you spelled the word, meaning "in English language" – always.

You will not put a hyphen in a somewhat similar wording when the meaning would be different. E.g. "по английскому обычаю".

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  • Well, thanks, but my question is not about "по английскому", but about "по английски". I don't think there can be found a case, in which a hyphen would be needed in "по английскому" or in "по английской". Shortly, my question is about the adverb, not about an adjective. – brilliant Jul 25 '12 at 6:32
  • Well, thanks, but my question is not about "по английскому", but about "по английски". I don't think there can be found a case, in which a hyphen would be needed in "по английскому" or in "по английской". Shortly, my question is not about an adjective, but the adverb. – brilliant Jul 25 '12 at 7:03
  • The first line of my answer is a direct answer to your question. Remaining part is just an example of a related case, you can disregard it. – coverback Jul 25 '12 at 7:39

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