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A hyphen (-) looks similar to a dash but is shorter and used in a few cases to show that the two things it joins belong together.
Hyphens between two adjectives that work as one
Use a hyphen to combine words that work together to form a single description.
- The fifty-five-year-old athlete was just as qualified for the marathon as his younger opponents.
- My doctor recommended against taking the medication, since it can be habit-forming.
- My study group focused on preparing for the mid-year review.
Hyphens when a word breaks at the end of a line
Use a hyphen to divide a word across two lines of text. Most word-processing programs will do this for you. If you have to manually insert a hyphen, place the hyphen between two syllables. If you are unsure of where to place the hyphen, consult a dictionary or move the entire word to the next line.
My supervisor was concerned that the team meet-
ing would conflict with the client meeting.
Adapted by Anna Mills from Writing for Success, created by an author and publisher who prefer to remain anonymous, adapted and presented by the Saylor Foundation and licensed CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.