spelling: hyphens

  • A hyphen is the short line (-) that we put between two words in an expression like book-shop or ex-husband.
    The rules about hyphens are complicated and not very clear. If you are not sure, look in the dictionary, or write an expression as two separate words. Note:

    a. We usually put a hyphen in a two-part adjective like blue-eyed, broken-hearted, grey-green, nice-looking.

    b. When we use a group of words as an adjective before a noun, we use hyphens. Compare:

      He s out of work. an out-of-work lorry driver
      It cost ten pounds. a ten-pound note

    c. In groups of words where the first word is stressed, we usually put hyphens. Compare:

      ‘ book-case a paper ‘bag
      ‘ make-up to make’ up
  • We use a hyphen to separate the parts of a long word at the end of a line. (To see where to divide words, look in a good dictionary.)

    … is not in accordance with the policy of the present government, which was . . .