In words beginning with ‘re’, a hyphen can make a big difference. For example:
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen re-signs
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen resigns
If you miss out the hyphen, suddenly Hansen’s leaving, rather than signing up for another 3 years.
Use a hyphen with ‘re’ when both of these apply:
In the example above, to ‘re-sign’ means to sign again. And if you left the hyphen out, you’d cause confusion with the word ‘resign’. Therefore, use a hyphen.
recover (Rest and fluids help you recover quickly.)
re-cover (I must re-cover the sofa.)
reserve (Let’s reserve a table at the restaurant.)
re-serve (The tennis player will re-serve.)
repress (Don’t repress your emotions.)
re-press (You need to re-press that shirt.)
resent (I resent your accusations.)
re-sent (The email didn’t arrive so it was re-sent.)
relay (I’ll relay your complaints to management.)
re-lay (The contractor will re-lay the carpet.)