Punctuation : Hyphen

A Hyphen ( - ) is a sign that is used to join words to indicate that they have a combined meaning or that they are grammatically linked, or to indicate a word that has been split up at the end of the line. In print, this mark is half the length of a dash. In actual writing, though, there is a little noticeable difference between a Dash and a Hyphen. However, the purpose of both these signs is exactly the opposite.

The dash is used to separate words or a group of words, while this mark is used to link words or parts of words.

This is used to join two or more words in order to form a single word (called a compound word):

• Good-for-nothing

• Free-for-all

• Sweet-and-sour

• Multi-purpose

• Passer-by, man-of-war, jack-of-all-trades etc…

• Passers-by should be kept away from this function.

Or to join words that have a grammatical relationship which form a compound:

• Point-blank

• Load-bearing

However, even at the end of sentences, always avoid hyphening acronyms, numbers, contractions and internet or email addresses.

From Hyphen to Punctuation Index