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3.8: Hyphens

  • Page ID
  • Skills to Develop

    • Identify the uses of hyphens.
    • Properly use hyphens in sentences.

    A hyphen (-) looks similar to a dash but is shorter and used in different ways.

    Hyphens between Two Adjectives That Work as One

    Use a hyphen to combine words that work together to form a single description.

    Example 1:

    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 midyear review.

    Hyphens When a Word Breaks at the End of a Line

    Use a hyphen to divide a word across two lines of text. You may notice that 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.

    Example 2:

    My supervisor was concerned that the team meet-

    ing would conflict with the client meeting.


    • Hyphens join words that work as one adjective.
    • Hyphens break words across two lines of text.
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