Capitalization of "a" after or before hypen in a word

Examples “I’m-A” or “I’m-a”? “A-Gonna” or a-Gonna", “A-Changing or a-Changing”? Normally when a hyphen is present, we treat words as if they are separate. Is this an exception?

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In the cases that you cite “a” is not a component (word) in a compound word,.
If it were a word in a compound word and that word was the indefinite article “a” then it should be capitalized as such.

These cases are described here

As a prefix, it is the first letter in a word and should be capitalized as such.


Thanks! It’s just been bugging me for years and I never could find anything by searching the internet. I never even realized it was actually not a compound, that’s fascinating.

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What about “Ring-a-ling”? Do you think “Ring-A-Ling”, “Ring-a-Ling” or “Ring-a-ling”?

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I would not consider this compound word but an onomatopoeia …

… like …

… and would capitalize it as one word:


Thanks. The more I thought about it as one word, this also made sense to me.


I believe the Thelonious Monk composition Rhythm-a-ning should follow the same pattern. (Unfortunately, the bulk of the recordings are not currently capitalized that way.)

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