Library Online
Certified Better Internet Bureau
Sep 27, 2016  
Letter Quicksearch
News Subscription
to articles and news releases
Your Name
Your Email
InternetSecure Certified Merchant

Hyphen Punctuation in Writing


A guide to the proper use of the hyphen in compounded words and phrases.  

A hyphen is used:

a)      To compound words which will form a compound adjective that precedes a noun. 

      first-rate service         one-man job       up-to-date fashions

  When the compound adjective follows the noun, it is not generally hyphenated.

service they provide, first rate and consistent, will be what turns that company into a success. 

b)      To compound numerals.

         thirty-five           forty-second           twenty-six hundred

   And compounding numerals with other words.

         Ten-foot post         twelve-o’clock lunch break         50-yard dash        four-year-old boy      

c)       In certain compounds made up of nouns and prepositional phrases. 

         Mother-in-law          hand-in-hand             off-the-cuff  

d)      In titles compounded with ex and elect.

          ex-wife          ex-Governor             President-elect

e)      In compounds made up of prefixes joined to proper names.

        mid-September          anti-American              un-American

f)        To distinguish words spelled alike but differing in meaning.

      re-count,  to count again             re-cover,  to cover again
recount,  to relate in detail          recover,  to regain

g)      To eliminate the confusion where vowels are doubled in combination with a prefix.

        co-owner               semi-independent              

  *  Exceptions to this rule are the words cooperate and coordinate along with their derivatives.

h)      Generally in words compounded with self as the prefix.

        Self-confidence             self-worth              self-reliant             

  * Do not use a hyphen in the word selfless or in pronouns compounded with self; as in, myself, itself, herself, etc.

Back to Punctuation Page

Quote of the Week
"Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."
- Colin Powell, Statesman & Retired 4-star General - United States Army
[view more]
Recent Articles
Your Career Biography
What goes into writing a Career Biography? Use this guideline to help you write your successful Career Biography. [view]
[view all]
Home | Grammar | Capitalization | Punctuation | Business Letters | Love Letters | Recommendations
Copyright © 2000-2016 Library Online Inc. - All Rights Reserved.
focus pages: resignation letters | love letters | thank you letters | business letters | letter template | writing letters | Recommendation Letters