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3.8 Hyphens

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the uses of hyphens.
  2. Properly use hyphens in sentences.

A hyphen (-)A punctuation mark that combines words that work together to form a single description, or it breaks a word across two lines of text. 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.

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.

My supervisor was concerned that the team meet-

ing would conflict with the client meeting.

Key Takeaways

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