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How to use a hyphen (-)

Hyphens are supplied to link words and also parts of words. They space not as usual today together they offered to be, but there space three main instances where you should use them:

Hyphens in link words

Hyphens are offered in plenty of compound native to display that the component words have actually a combined meaning (e.g. a pick-me-up, mother-in-law, good-hearted) or that there is a relationship in between the words that consist of the compound: for example, rock-forming minerals room minerals that kind rocks. But you don’t have to use castle in every form of compound word.

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Compound adjectives

Compound adjective are made up of a noun + an adjective, a noun + a participle, or one adjective + a participle. Plenty of compound adjectives must be hyphenated. Right here are some examples:

noun + adjectivenoun + participleadjective + participle

With link adjectives formed from the adverb well and a participle (e.g. well-known), or from a phrase (e.g. up-to-date), you must use a hyphen once the compound comes before the noun:

well-known brands of coffee

an up-to-date account

but not once the link comes after the noun:

His music was additionally well well-known in England.

Their numbers are up to date.

It’s essential to usage hyphens in compound adjectives explicate ages and also lengths of time: leaving lock out deserve to make the meaning ambiguous. Because that example, 250-year-old trees clearly refers to trees that space 250 year old, if 250 year old tree could equally describe 250 trees that space all one year old.

Compound verbs

Use a hyphen when a compound formed from two nouns is made into a verb, for example:

an ice cream skateto ice-skate
a booby trapto booby-trap
a spot checkto spot-check
a court martialto court-martial

Phrasal verbs

You should NOT put a hyphen within phrasal verb – verbs comprised of a main verb and an adverb or preposition. Because that example:

Phrasal verbExample
build upYou should continue to develop up your pension.
break inThey damaged in by forcing a lock on the door.
stop offWe quit off in Hawaii on the means home.

If a paragraph verb is made into a noun, though, you need to use a hyphen:

build-upThere to be a accumulation of web traffic on the ring road.
break-inThe home was unoccupied at the time of the break-in.
stop-offWe knew there would certainly be a stop-off in Singapore because that refuelling.

Compound nouns

A link noun is one consists of 2 component nouns. In principle, together nouns have the right to be written in among three different ways:

one wordtwo wordshyphenated
aircrewair crewair-crew
playgroupplay groupplay-group
chatroomchat roomchat-room

In the past, this sorts of link were usually hyphenated, however the case is various today. The tendency is now to write them as either one indigenous or two different words. However, the most crucial thing to keep in mind is that you should select one style and also stick come it within a item of writing. Don’t describe a playgroup in one paragraph and a play-group in another.

Hyphens joining prefixes to other words

Hyphens can be provided to sign up with a prefix to another word, specifically if the prefix end in a vowel and the other word likewise begins with one (e.g. pre-eminent or co-own). This usage is less usual than it provided to be, though, and also one-word forms are becoming much more usual (e.g. prearrange or cooperate).

Use a hyphen to different a prefix native a name or date, e.g. post-Aristotelian or pre-1900.

Use a hyphen to stop confusion with one more word: for example, come distinguishre-cover (= carry out something with a new cover) indigenous recover (= obtain well again).

Hyphens reflecting word breaks

Hyphens can likewise be supplied to divide words that are not commonly hyphenated.

They show where a native is to be divided at the end of a line of writing. Always shot to split the word in a wise place, so that the first part does not mislead the reader: for example, hel-met not he-lmet; dis-abled no disa-bled.

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Hyphens are additionally used to stand for a common second element in all yet the last word of a list, e.g.: