When To Use The Hyphen

Hyphens (-) are the short lines that we put between words.

ex-husband
blue-green

Uses

  1. Two-word compound adjectives are hyphenated when the second word ends in -ed or -ing.

green-hued
blue-eyed
broken-hearted

Other two-word adjectives which contain the sense of ‘between’ are also often hyphenated.

Indo-Pak relations
Anglo-French connections
blue-green (between blue and green)
The New York-Paris flight.

Longer phrases used as adjectives before nouns are also often hyphenated.

an out-of-work singer

Two-word compound nouns are hyphenated when the first word is stressed.

running-shoes
bus-driver
paper-shop

The prefixes co-, non- and ex- are sometimes separated from what follows by hyphens

co-operation
non-alignment
ex-husband

Notes

Nowadays there is a growing tendency to avoid hyphens. Most common short compounds are now written as single words with no separation between them.

weekend
takeover

Less common or larger compounds are written as completely separate words.

living room

Related posts:

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  2. Improve your vocabulary
  3. Rules of capitalization
  4. Most common writing mistakes in English | Adverbs used instead of adjectives
  5. Remove unnecessary conjunctions from your sentences
  6. IELTS essays: vocabulary tips
  7. Strategies for the reading section
  8. The Use Of Capital Letters
  9. IELTS vocabulary – note on the use of adjectives and adverbs
  10. Strategies to improve your score in the Reading module

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I'm Manjusha. This is my blog where I give IELTS preparation tips.

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