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Using hyphens

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Tutor: Jonathan

Summary

Using hyphens

In a nutshell 

A hyphen (-) is used to join two or more words together to make a new word and to avoid uncertainty in regard to its meaning. In this summary, you will learn how to use hyphens to clarify meaning.  



Compound adjectives

A hyphen is used to link words together to form compound adjectives. 


Examples

compound adjective

use in a sentence

brown-eyed
My brown-eyed sister wears glasses.
absent-minded
My teacher can be absent-minded some days.




Compound nouns

A hyphen can also be used to link words together to form compound nouns.


Examples

​​compound noun

use in a sentence

brother-in-law
My brother-in-law is very kind.
self-confidence
She is very self-confident about her writing skills.


Note: Compound numbers between 2121​ and 9999​ are written with a hyphen. However, the numbers 2020​, 3030​, etc. are written without.



Avoiding ambiguity

Sometimes hyphens are used to avoid ambiguity in meaning. 


Examples


without hyphen

​​with hyphen

meaning with hyphen

well behaved child
well-behaved child
The child is well mannered.
sixteen year old
sixteen-year-old
The person is sixteen years old.
resent
re-sent
Something has been sent again 



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Exercises

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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