Grammar Hyphenating Between Words |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Hyphenating Between Words

Many of us get confused about when to hyphenate between words. For example, should you write nearly-extinct wolves or nearly extinct wolves?

Adverbs ending in -ly should not be hyphenated.

In most cases it is compound adjectives–adjectives that act as one idea with other adjectives–that get hyphenated in front of nouns.

Example: The crowd threw out the barely edible cake.
The word barely is an -ly adverb answering how edible the cake was.

Example: It’s a lovely-looking home.
The word lovely is an -ly adjective, because we could say a lovely home.

Example: We live in a two-story building.
The word two in this sentence is an adjective working together with story to describe the noun building. Therefore, two-story is a compound adjective requiring a hyphen.

Example: The announcer offered a blow-by-blow description of the boxers’ punches.
Blow-by-blow is acting as one idea. Therefore, it is a compound adjective.

Example: Our building is two stories.
Often when the description follows the noun, it is not necessary to hyphenate it.

To learn more about hyphens, click here.

Click here to try a free quiz on hyphens.

If the article or the existing discussions do not address a thought or question you have on the subject, please use the "Comment" box at the bottom of this page.

124 responses to “Hyphenating Between Words”

  1. Lance says:

    I want to have this phrase deconstructed according to the rules.
    “Honda Certified Used Car”
    I believe the word “Honda” is a proper noun.
    I believe the word “certified” is a past participle or adjective modifying the noun “car.”
    Thus, I believe the meaning of the phrase can otherwise be expressed as a “used car certified by Honda.”
    Is this correct?

    • We believe you are correct in interpreting the meaning of the phrase. Advertising often takes liberties with proper grammar and punctuation. By strict interpretation of the rules, we would write this as “Honda-certified used car.” (Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.)

  2. Helen says:

    Is “above-referenced” hyphenated?

    • Yes. Rule 4 of our Hyphens section says, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.” Above-referenced is a phrasal adjective (also called a compound modifier) that describes the noun “matter.”

  3. Teri says:

    Is “home buyers,” as in “first-time homebuyers,” one word or two? Online it says that it is one word, but spell check gives me an error message. Thoughts?

    • As we mention in Rule 1 of Hyphens, “To check whether a compound noun is two words, one word, or hyphenated, you may need to look it up in the dictionary.” You did look it up online, probably on, which is a valid resource, and we looked it up in a couple of different hard-copy dictionaries. We find that it has been considered one word at least since the 1990s. Do not rely solely on spellcheck or grammarcheck programs, as they tend to contain errors.

  4. Thomas says:

    I am having trouble trying to settle a disagreement about a grammar
    The sentence I was given had five consecutive cases of the word ‘and’ in it.

    This sentence is referring to a mistake in a pub name (The Cat-and-Dog)

    I wanted a space between Cat and and, and, and and Dog.
    I say it should be written like this:
    I wanted a space between ‘Cat’ and ‘And’, and, ‘And’ and ‘Dog’.

    Can you possibly solve this little dilemma?

    • Your question, whether a serious one or not, is clever. We do know that pub names are often of the form “The noun1 and noun2.” We don’t think we’ve ever heard of one that was hyphenated, so we agree with you that it was likely a mistake. Now, how do we explain that in words? The not as amusing way, but a clear way, to do it would be to use italics and say (we are going to assume the word and in the name is not capitalized):

      I wanted spaces, not hyphens, between the word Cat and the word and and between the word and and the word Dog.

      But it really would be more fun to have a sentence with five consecutive occurrences of the word and. Again, we can use italics to help us out. While probably not so easy to understand, grammatically, this sentence is correct:

      I wanted a space between Cat and and and and and Dog.

  5. Josh says:

    Here’s something I always wanted to know about hyphenation but was never able to find out. (If I ever learned it, I don’t recall).

    Anyway, if you were take a phrase like “United States economy” or “Middle East crisis,” would the geographical-location terms be hyphenated because of the fact that the geographical part is made up of two words?

    Thanks, and have a good day.

    • Jane says:

      Our Rule 4 of Hyphens says, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.” Geographical proper names that are two words such as United States and Middle East would be considered a single adjective, therefore, they should not be hyphenated.

  6. Shannon says:

    The rule for hyphenating one-storey is understood, but please clarify if the hyphen is applicable when describing one or more hyphens…which is corrent: Option #1) “the home is surrounded by one- and two-storey buildings.”
    or OPTION #2) “the home is surrounded by one and two-storey buildings.”

  7. Shannon says:

    Just to clarify the above comment…my question is which option is correct, Option 1 or Option 2…(i.e. when is the hyphen NOT applicable when describing two or more words that normally would have a hyphen in between…aka one-storey, two storey…

    • The Chicago Manual of Style’s rule 7.84 says, “When the second part of a hyphenated expression is omitted, the hyphen is retained, followed by a space.

      fifteen- and twenty-year mortgages
      Chicago- or Milwaukee-bound passengers
      a five-by-eight-foot rug (a single entity)”

      Therefore, write “The home is surrounded by one- and two-story buildings.” (The American English spelling is story.)

  8. Carol F. says:

    In your hyphen rules, you have omitted the basic rule about adverb-adjective combinations. Example: The fully loaded pen, his fully edited copy. Unless I am completely crazy, hyphens in these combinations are incorrect. Please let me know.

    • Rules 4 and 5 cover this area. Your examples are comparable to the final example under Rule 4, brightly lit room. In your examples, “fully” is an adverb describing “loaded” and “edited.” Therefore, no hyphen is used.

      • Steven Lytle says:

        Regarding hyphens in adverb-adjective phrases, you twice used a hyphen in phrases starting with “well” when it’s unnecessary (although quite common): “well-advised hyphens” (in Rule 5) and “well-known expressions” (in Rule 11). The reason, it seems to me, that hyphens are unnecessary after these adverbs is that adverbs typically already and automatically modify whatever immediately follows them, so adding a hyphen to accomplish the same thing is unnecessary.

        • A hyphenated compound adjective can include an adverb. The compound is hyphenated if it appears before a noun but not if it appears after a noun. Exceptions to this would be compounds with an adverb ending in -ly; they would not be hyphenated before or after a noun.

          • Cory says:

            Can you explain this a little further? You say that “well-advised” and “well-known” are compound adjectives, not adverb-adjective phrases. To me, “well” sure looks like an adverb describing how advised/known something is. Maybe that doesn’t necessarily make it an adverb-adjective phrase. Can you help me distinguish between adverb-adjective phrases and compound adjectives that look like adverb-adjective phrases? Thanks!

            • A compound adjective can include an adverb. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, compound adjectives formed from the adverb well, as well as from a phrase (e.g., up to date) should be hyphenated when the compound comes before the noun (a well-known performer, up-to-date news). The compound should not be hyphenated when it follows the noun (the performer is well known, the news is up to date).

  9. rebecca says:

    Should I use hypens in the following phrase?
    “This premium-grade honey is made using cold-extraction methods.”
    Any advice you could give would be most appreciated.

    • Our Rule 4 of Hyphens states, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.” Your sentence is correct as written.

  10. Laurel M. says:

    Your rule on hyphens number 4 has an example of ‘friendly-looking man’. One does not hyphenate words ending in –ly. That’s a pretty standard rule, and I’m surprised to see this error on a website about correct grammar and use of English.

    • Your statement that “One does not hyphenate words ending in -ly” is a rule only in the AP Stylebook. (It is intended for hurried journalists who may not have time to figure out which part of speech a certain -ly word is.) What is true for books is that adverbs ending in -ly are not hyphenated. More often than not, words ending in -ly are adverbs, but not always. The phrase friendly-looking man is hyphenated because friendly is an adjective.

      Adverbs answer the questions how, where, or when. The word friendly is not answering how, where, or when the man is looking with his eyes. Therefore, friendly-looking is a compound adjective.

      This is a tricky one and we hope this helps.

      • Graham says:

        Where a word like friendly also has an adverb form which is the same, how do you work out which form is being used in a phrase like ‘friendly looking smile’? Surely the friendly is amending the ‘looking’ just as much as it could amending the ‘smile’

        • The word friendly forms a compound adjective with looking in describing smile. As noted in our response to Laura M., friendly is not answering how, where, or when anyone is looking with eyes. You can also use the technique from the second example in this post of a “lovely-looking home.” Just as you would say a “lovely home,” you would also say a “friendly smile.”

  11. Your statement that “One does not hyphenate words ending in -ly” is a nice, concise, nonexistent rule. What is true is that adverbs ending in -ly are not hyphenated. More often than not, words ending in -ly are adverbs, but not always. The phrase friendly-looking man is hyphenated because friendly is an adjective.

    Adverbs answer the questions how, where, or when. The word friendly is not answering how, where, or when the man is looking with his eyes. Therefore, friendly-looking is a compound adjective.

  12. Niraj says:

    Can we hyphen three words consecutively in a sentence?
    I want to know about this phrase: “private enterprise friendly policies”. It refers to policies that are friendly towards private enterprises. You can’t write Private enterprise-friendly as that would mean enterprise-friendly policies that are private; you can’t separate private and enterprise like that. Can you write “private-enterprise-friendly policies”?

  13. Sheila says:

    Do we write hearing-impaired OR hearing impaired?

    • Our Rule 4 of Hyphens says, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.”

      Examples: Sam’s brother is a hearing-impaired person. But Sam’s brother is hearing impaired.

  14. Gary says:

    I was hoping you would explain to me how the rules for hyphens would apply when using the term “my not so private life” as the subject of an email.
    “my not so private life” = me writing a journal entry or email that reveals secrets many, if not most, people would keep to themselves

    Thank you very much!

    • The phrase not-so-private could be hyphenated, but many editors would not do so. Without hyphens, there is little chance of reader confusion, so this is a judgment call, a matter of preference and style.

  15. Billy says:

    Is in-front and in front means the same thing?


  16. trevor says:

    I came across a message someone left on a post I read, and it didn’t seem like it was written correctly.

    “I get anger goosebumps every time I see bad grammar and atrocious spelling!”

    “anger goosebumps” seems like it could use a hyphen, but after reading the rules, I’m not so sure now.

    What do you think?

  17. Ted Estrada says:

    Have I written this sentence correctly: I am a seventy-six years old U.S.-born Latino.

    • Seventy-six-year-old is a compound adjective and does not require an s. Also note the need for a second hyphen, after year. The term “U.S.-born” would probably be more commonly phrased “born in the U.S.”

      I am a seventy-six-year-old Latino born in the U.S.

  18. Nicole Ballard says:

    I’m about to print my wedding rsvp cards. I have a section that says, “Other wedding related information can be found on our website.” Is there supposed to be a hyphen between wedding and related? Wedding-related or wedding related? What is correct?

  19. PJ says:

    I am confused with when to use hyphen for seantences with the following:

    sea-level rise
    sea level rise


    • When sea level is used as a noun phrase, do not hyphenate. Hyphenate sea-level when it is used as a modifier. Examples:

      Global sea level rose over the past century.
      What causes sea-level rise?

      • Sea-level rise professional says:

        Yes, this is absolutely correct, but many of my colleagues refuse to hyphenate “sea-level rise.” Even the International Panel on Climate Change in their most recent report (AR5) documents failed to correctly hyphenate sea-level rise in its work even though a commenter pointed out that this is the correct way to write it: Very frustrating that people do not respond to proper use of the English language even when clearly informed as to the correct rules and usage.

        • While we recommend hyphenating “sea-level” when used as a modifier, hyphenation is often at the writer’s discretion. By not hyphenating “sea level,” the writer assumes that it is a familiar expression to most people and will not lead to ambiguity.

  20. Ellen H. says:

    What is the “proper” way to spell log book? As 2 words or 1 or hypen.

  21. Rudy N. says:

    What is the correct way to write hip hop, with or without a hyphen?

    • We have found no universal agreement on this question among reference manuals, print or on-line magazines, or other resources. Our recommendation would be to write “hip hop” when it is being used as a noun, and “hip-hop” as a compound adjective.
      Noun: Hip hop is my favorite music.
      Adjective: I love hip-hop music.

      • Nate says:

        Musician/grammarian here. I would not hyphenate hip hop as an adjective for the same reason I would not hyphenate “rock and roll music” or “bebop jazz music.” I’m not sure if this is exceptional or not. “Hip hop music” is not hop music that happens to be hip. (“Hip hop” was coined from a song lyric.) Similarly, rock and roll music involves a single, multi-word adjective, not a compound. By contrast, “late-Baroque music” has a hyphen because “late-Baroque” is a compound adjective.

        • The following is from the “Ask the Editor” page of the Associated Press Stylebook:
          Is hip-hop hyphenated?
          Yes, we hyphenate hip-hop in all uses.

  22. Laurie D. says:

    I am reading through a large document and need some clarification on the use of hyphens. Help! Which is correct?

    Revenue generating activities
    Revenue-generating activities
    owner- occupied
    owner occupied homes
    Housing rehabilitation, including single- and multi-family residences occupied
    single and multi-family residences
    construction related costs
    construction-related costs

    • There is no reason to hyphenate ongoing. It is one word in all of our dictionaries.
      Three of your remaining four phrases are examples of compound adjectives, which are generally hyphenated:
      revenue-generating activities
      owner-occupied homes
      construction-related costs

      The remaining phrase is a little more complicated because multifamily is not hyphenated. We recommend writing: single-family and multifamily residences.

  23. Dinora de Rivera says:

    What about anti-hair fall – how does one hyphenate that?

    • It appears that the term hair fall is equivalent to the American term hair loss. As this would form a compound adjective in combination with various product names, we favor “anti-hair-fall” shampoo, “anti-hair-fall” hair oil, etc., as grammatically correct (even though we note that such products advertised on the Internet generally drop the second hyphen).

  24. Dinora de Rivera says:

    What would you say would be the differences between former home site vs. former-home site? Is something, for example, a Walt Disney former-home site or a Walt Disney former home site? What does the first version imply and what the second?

    • Walt Disney’s “former-home site” would refer to the site of his previous house. If referring only to the location, not the house, use “former homesite” or “former home site.”

  25. evelyn says:

    Is lost-time accident hyphenated.

  26. Monica H. says:

    Could you please discuss the difference (if any) between “matter-of-fact” and “matter of fact”?

    • In a sentence such as “He had a matter-of-fact way of explaining what happened,” “matter-of-fact” is functioning as a compound adjective. (See Rule 1 of Hyphens.)

      In the sentence “It’s a matter of fact that the car ran a red light,” “matter of fact” is functioning as a noun phrase.

  27. Christine G. says:

    Which is correct to say: It’s our reputation of reliable, quality built presses at value-pricing OR It’s our reputation for reliable, quality built presses at value-pricing?
    Thank you in advance.

  28. Lilly says:

    I’m stuggling with when to hyphenate hospital-wide. we use term in many policies and I see it used in a variety of ways. it is most ofen used in the contet of all staff in the facility.


    Thank you for your feed back.

    • The Chicago Manual of Style advises keeping the word closed if listed as such in Webster’s Dictionary. If not in Webster’s, it should be hyphenated. Compounds retain the hyphen both before and after a noun. Since the word is not listed in Webster’s, write hospital-wide.

  29. Brigitte F. says:

    Peace of mind or peace-of-mind?

    • Whether you use hyphens or not depends on whether you are using the phrase as a compound adjective or not:
      That brings me great peace of mind.
      It’s a peace-of-mind response.

  30. Sandra Hughes says:

    I have a question about use of hyphens with the suffix “free” as for example toll-free, rent-free. There seems to be some exception to the general rule for compound adjectives that after the noun (in the predicate) you don’t need to use a hyphen but in the case of words with “free” you do use the hyphen as eg. The room is rent-free OR The cookie is gluten-free.
    My question is does this only apply when used as an adjective? What about the examples: The group met in the hall rent free. OR They used the room rent free. Should rent free be hyphenated in these examples?


  31. JA says:

    What if the correct way of writing 1st grade; First-Grade, First-grade, First Grade, first grade, and etc?

    • The correct spelling depends on how the phrase is used in a sentence, but usually the phrase is written first grade.

      • Sadie Bindl says:

        I believe first-grade is a compound adjective if it is used to describe students “he is a first-grade student” In other uses, first is the adjective and grade is the noun. For example, there would be no hyphen in “he is in the first grade.”

  32. Barra S. says:

    Just questioning your use of hyphens with -ly adjectives.

    According to you:
    Correct Answer: C What kindly-looking eyes my grandfather had.
    Explanation: “Kindly” is an -ly adjective here. Hyphenate an -ly adjective and another adjective (“looking”) when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.

    According to the Chicago Manual of Style:
    adverb ending in ly + participle or adjective
    a highly paid ragpicker
    a fully open society
    he was mildly amusing
    Open whether before or after a noun.

    Is this just a difference of opinion or am I not interpreting the CMoS rule correctly?

    • You are not interpreting the CMOS rule correctly. In each CMOS case you cited, the ly words are adverbs in that they are modifying adjectives or a verb. In our quiz question, “kindly-looking” is a compound adjective modifying “eyes.”

  33. Leah S. says:

    I understand you suffix free in all cases, but what about the alternative used for gluten-free which is gluten friendly?

    Does this require a hyphen?

  34. Liam says:

    I am referencing part of a screen snapshot in a set of instructions. Should I use a hyphen in this case or leave it out?

    – in the upper-right corner
    – in the upper right corner

    I used to hyphenate it, but now I think the opposite, but I can’t explain why.

    Which is correct?

  35. Bri says:

    My mom asked me about this and it has me stumped. Uppercase is one word, and lowercase is one word. She wants to write in a sentence, “upper- and lowercase letters.” Is that correct? Or would there be no hyphen, or just “uppercase and lowercase letters?”

  36. John says:

    My wife is making fun of my shampoo. The label description reads “Anti-hair loss shampoo”. She claims the hyphen should be between “hair” and “loss”. Is she right?

    • Our Rule 1 of Hyphens says, “Generally, hyphenate two or more words when they come before a noun they modify and act as a single idea. This is called a compound adjective.” This would dictate a hyphen between hair and loss. In accordance with The Chicago Manual of Style, Rule 7.85, Table 4, anti-hair-loss is considered a compound term. Therefore, anti-hair-loss shampoo is correct.

  37. TM says:

    would the use of the word Buyer’s be correct in saying: This is the Buyer’s final offer or would it be correct to use This is the buyers’ final offer if multiple people are acting as buyers?

    • If there are multiple buyers, write “This is the buyers’ final offer.” We see no reason to capitalize the word buyers’ unless their names were defined as “the Buyers” in the contract.

  38. Sara says:

    In Christmas card a picture of a upset baby on Santa’s lap- should I use “not so happy” or just not-so-happy?

    • We assume you are referring to writing a caption for the picture. You could write “not so happy,” meaning “The baby in the picture is not so happy.” Hyphens would be used if you were using the phrase as a compound adjective along with the noun baby, a “not-so-happy baby.”

  39. Barbara Beresford says:

    Your rule at the top of the page is:

    Adverbs ending in -ly should not be hyphenated.

    What if the adverbs are placed in stand-alone constructions that follow the noun(s) being modified, such as:

    … products and solutions that are simple, intuitive, biometrically-enabled, with …

    Can you please add an explanation for this instance?

  40. Tob Ba says:

    Hope this one gets picked up, as I work in an editing team and need to back up my reasoning!

    I suppose the question falls under the compound-adjective banner:

    1) index-linked revenues
    2) these revenues are index-linked

    My colleagues thought no.2 was wrong and would put “these revenues are index linked”. Their argument was that the adjective came after the noun and no hyphen was needed (compare “much-needed help” with “his help was much needed”).

    For me, thought no.2 is a compound adjective and needs to stay together regardless of its position in a sentence. I think they’re confusing a general rule (about hyphens) with a separate rule about compound adjectives. Index and linked must be hyphenated as they are a combination of a noun and participle.

    • As we mention in our introduction to Hyphens Between Words, “Although there are rules and customs governing hyphens, there are also situations when writers must decide whether to add them for clarity.” In our Rule 1, we write “When a compound adjective follows a noun, a hyphen is usually not necessary … However, some established compound adjectives are always hyphenated. Double-check with a dictionary or online.”

      If there is no established practice regarding your compound adjective, then it appears you have a judgment call when it follows the noun. You are not likely to lose clarity either way.

  41. Kathy Walker says:

    Would one write “two- and three-story roofs…” or “two and three-story roofs…” ? I am using the American spelling of story and am in the midst of editing a novel. I could benefit greatly from your expertise. Thank you.

  42. lilly says:

    red-haired or red haired?

  43. Bryanna Hand says:

    I have to turn these two long phrases into short phrases with a hyphenated compound. The only two I cannot get:
    “a television screen that is forty-eight inches from corner to corner”
    “a chemist who won the Nobel Prize”

  44. Laura says:

    How would you hyphenate “well above average rate of accuracy”? Thank you.

  45. Jill Stockinger says:

    When writing a paragraph, and a hyphen is what fits on the line and what it hyphenates fits at the start of the next line, do we drop the hyphen?
    The 3 lines of the paragraph are these:
    There are many crafts I have done until I mastered them and
    then never looked back. One recent special project has been putting together a one-
    page graphic story which grew out of drawing superheroes with a nephew.

  46. jim says:

    I’m having trouble hyphenating this: “a television screen that is forty-eight inches from corner to corner.“

  47. Margaret says:

    I have always hyphenated fully-executed settlement statement but Word keeps wanting to correct it without the hyphen. Please help. Have I been typing it wrong all these years? I have also hyphenated above-referenced transaction, for example. Is that correct?

    • As the post states, “Adverbs ending in -ly should not be hyphenated.” Therefore, fully executed settlement statement is not hyphenated. Above-referenced transaction is fine.

  48. David Rose says:

    I understand why owner-occupied would be hyphenated, but I usually see renter occupied not hyphenated. Is there a reason or is this convention?

    • Our Rule 1 of Hyphens says, “Generally, hyphenate two or more words when they come before a noun they modify and act as a single idea. This is called a compound adjective.” Therefore, both terms should be hyphenated when they appear before a noun.
      an owner-occupied property
      a renter-occupied property

      However, when a compound adjective follows a noun, a hyphen usually is not necessary.
      the property is owner occupied
      the property is renter occupied

  49. Kaitlyn says:

    When saying “8th-period calculus,” you do put a hyphen between 8th and period, right? Also, when just saying 8th period without the subject after it, does that mean you don’t have to use a hyphen?
    Ex: I’m in 8th-period calculus. (hyphenate)
    I’m going to 8th period. (No hyphen)

    • Your hyphens are used correctly, and your sentences are written correctly if it’s standard at your school to use numerals this way. However, for formal writing, the leading style guides recommend writing out the word eighth. (See our Rules for Writing Numbers.)
      I’m in eighth-period calculus.
      I’m going to eighth period.

  50. Stennett says:

    How do you correctly hyphenate adjectival color descriptions such as the following: “Jessica pointed to the pillar that sported words in happy, bright blue and white lettering.” Should it be hyphenated like this: bright-blue-and-white lettering? Thanks.

    • This can be a matter of interpretation where there is not necessarily a “correct” way. Do blue and white in this context seem to be separate qualities (no hyphens) as opposed to a combined form, similar to black-and-white print? Does bright describe the blue color, both colors, or the letters? Is the word happy describing bright blue and white lettering or just blue and white lettering? We can imagine all of the following being acceptable:
      happy, bright blue and white lettering
      happy bright-blue-and-white lettering
      happy, bright blue-and-white lettering

      and possibly other iterations.

      As the Chicago Manual of Style mentions, “Consider too that when the meanings of [different] versions … are so close as to be indistinguishable, it might not be worth your time to worry about it.”

  51. Lowie says:

    You will find covers, compositions, jams, and more. Basically everything piano-related!

    Is this a correct use of hyphens? (and is there also a better way of saying it?)

    • Whether to hyphenate modifiers that follow the noun is often a matter of style and preference. As the post explains, the hyphen is often not necessary when it follows the noun (…everything piano related!); this is particularly true in formal writing. In promotional content, which is often more flexible with style, one might hyphenate the compound because it looks and reads as more-colloquial copy.

  52. Ali says:

    I frequently see the phrase “long-term care facility.” However, I’m sure that there should be a hyphen between “term” and “care.” Do you agree?

    • says:

      An even more precise treatment would be long term–care facility (long term is a compound modifier of care, and it is punctuated with an en dash).

  53. Patty says:

    Should left hip be hyphenated in the following? She has left-hip arthritis.

  54. Elisha M Marti says:

    Is this sentence punctuated correctly?
    Two-, four- and six-person tables will be available.

  55. Pamela J Steele says:

    On your hyphen quiz your used the wording “seventh grade reading material.” There can be more than one meaning to this phrase. If the material is for seventh-grade reading, such as for a class, the whole phrase would be hyphenated (which was the answer your site says is correct). If it is simply reading material rated at a seventh-grade level, it would be correct to write “seventh-grade reading material.”

    • says:

      To us, achieving a difference between “seventh-grade-reading material” and “seventh-grade reading material” meant to mean “reading rated at a seventh-grade level” would be too slight—and require too much reader analysis—just by omitting a hyphen. If we wanted to convey your meaning of reading material rated at a seventh-grade level, we would opt for an expression such as “seventh grade–level reading material,” “grade seven–level reading material.”

  56. Kim Yaris says:

    Is there ever a time when the word interrelated would be hyphenated to say something like “four inter-related elements?” To me the correct usage would be “four interrelated elements.” Which is correct?

  57. kj says:

    What about “owner-occupied housing”? A hyphen is required there. But what about adding a prefix such as “non”? Is everything hyphenated, as in “non-owner-occupied housing”?

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