H is for hyphens
Hyphens (-) are little dashes that have many uses.
Hyphens in compound words
Compound words may be hyphenated (or they may be closed up together or they may be left as two separate words). Look in the dictionary for help.
Hyphenated compound words and phrases
horse-trade, hot-wire, house-sit
Closed compound words
hereinafter, hothouse, household
Open compound words
high school, hydro line, phone booth
Hyphens in confusing words
Use a hyphen to help the reader understand the sense of the word in context.
re-creation (as opposed to recreation)
co-op (as opposed to coop)
eight-part sets (as opposed to eight partial sets)
Hyphens between descriptors before a noun
Use a hyphen between the following:
two or more adjectives before a noun
high-class home, third-floor bachelor
an adjective and a participle
hard-hitting handball game
an adverb and an adjective or participle
Never use a hyphen after a word ending in —ly.
hardly heard hymn
a noun plus a participle
a noun plus an adjective before a noun
Do not use a hyphen if the descriptors come after the noun.
The home was high class.
The game was hard hitting.
The cheese was three years old.
Hyphens mark words split between two lines of type.
Heavenly hash is the kind of meal that many want to avoid eating because left-
overs are not appetizing.
- Pick up a newspaper. Find some hyphenated words and figure out what parts of speech are in the phrase.
Special reading assignment
- Henry hankered to measure the height of hydro towers in the right-of-way.
- Horrified onlookers watched the steel-built hydro towers fall in the fierce ice storm. [Near Montreal, 1989.]