Mid-size, Midsize or Midsized: How to Decide?

www.RuthlessEditor.comWhen you’re describing a company that is neither large nor small, what’s the proper way to express it?

  • a mid-size company
  • a midsize company
  • a mid-sized company
  • a midsized company

According to my primary and preferred reference, The Associated Press Stylebook, midsized company is preferred. Part of the reason might be the tendency to avoid hyphens in words with prefixes:

coexist | nonfiction | paralegal | prenatal | semifinal | midsize(d)

Another source, Daily Writing Tips, considers midsize (not midsized) correct, agreeing with AP on omitting hyphens after prefixes.

But the Chicago Manual of Style notes: “You can look up -size in a dictionary and see that -size and -sized are accepted variants and are normally hyphenated. It’s a good idea to choose one style or the other to use throughout a document.”

So a company can be midsize or midsized, mid-size or mid-sized. Take your pick, and then use it consistently.

Midsize or Medium-sized?

Daily Writing Tips takes its explanation a step further, distinguishing midsize from medium-size by adding a hyphen. Why?

Because, according to the writer, medium is not a prefix; it is an entire word. Therefore, a hyphen should separate it from sized: medium-sized. 

The writer adds, “Medium-sized is much more likely to apply not only to entities such a businesses and organizations but also to most other projects and objects.”

However, the source suggests avoiding small-size or large-size as descriptors, because small and large speak for themselves; they don’t need clarification.

Medium, on the other hand, is considered vague and requires –sized for clarity:

Small companies will get additional funding.

Large companies will get additional funding.

Medium-sized companies will get additional funding.

King and Queen Size

When it comes to beds, mattresses and sheets, we have king size (or just king) and queen size (or just queen), not sized and no hyphen.

Midsize Vehicles

If size distinctions seem fuzzy to this point, here’s some good news: Car ads are fairly consistent. When it comes to vehicles, midsize rules:

Safety tests were performed on small to midsize vehicles.

The 10 Most Popular Midsize Cars

2017 Vehicle Dependability Study: Most Dependable Midsize Cars

2015 Chevrolet Malibu TV Commercial: Highest Ranked Midsize Car

But then we have:

Top 12 best cars for the money: Best mid-size car — Ford Fusion

 

Size and Scrabble

Scrabble does not allow hyphenated words, but these size words are acceptable in the word game:

undersize | oversize | rightsize | supersize | upsize | downsize | pintsize | midsize | resize | unitsize | multisize

English sometimes has loose parameters that leave you as a writer with choices. Many of my blogs give you distinct guidelines about usage. Size versus sized is an exception.

One size certainly does not fit all, nor do all of these versions of size pass spellcheck.

If you think your friends, family or colleagues would like to size up this column, please share it!

Kathy Watson
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Kathy Watson

Kathy has a love/hate relationship with grammar; she loves words and the punctuation that helps them make sense, yet she hates those pesky rules. A self-proclaimed ruthless editor, she prefers standard usage guidelines of The Associated Press Stylebook. Her easy-to-use Grammar for People Who Hate Rules helps people write and speak with authority and confidence. She encourages and welcomes questions and comments. (Email)

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