Hyphen Usage

When I began my research into the correct use of hyphens, I stumbled across a sentence that said hyphen use is among the least uniform and least stable feature of English spelling and to consult a dictionary. Being that I have latent masochistic tendencies, I did not give up.
But you’ve been warned, this could very well be a waste of your time. I will, of course, have learned something–even if it is wrong–so I will have accomplished something.:D

Hyphens are used for:
1) Compund words–not all, and I guess this is where a current dictionary will come in handy.

Correct: Able-bodied, bull’s-eye, six-pack abs, in-laws, one-sided, Governor-elect
Incorrrect: Bridesmaid, stepfather, highlight, headquarters, bittersweet

2) Compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine. Fractions may or may not be hyphenated.

Example: One-third of the students dropped the class.
Example: One-third are illiterate.

3) Some prefixes require a hyphen.
Like all-, ex-, quasi-, self-, and sometimes co-
On prefixes before words that begin with a capital letter: anti-Ameican, pan-Pacific
To prevent the joining of two identical vowels or three identical consonanats: semi-independent, fall-like.

4) With group modifiers
Example: Growing up I always watched the after-school specials.

Note: this doesn’t apply if there is an -ly adverb modifying the noun.

Now that I’ve finished, I think I’ve done this before. Hmm, guess it doesn’t hurt to get a refresher. By George, I think my brain is getting it.

About Linda Andrews

Linda Andrews lives with her husband and three children in Phoenix, Arizona. When she announced to her family that her paranormal romance was to be published, her sister pronounce: "What else would she write? She’s never been normal." All kidding aside, writing has become a surprising passion. So just how did a scientist start to write paranormal romances? What other option is there when you’re married to romantic man and live in a haunted house? If you’ve enjoyed her stories or want to share your own paranormal experience feel free to email the author at www.lindaandrews.net She’d love to hear from you.
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