When Should You Use Hyphens? The Quick-And-Easy Guide to Hyphens!

Make Your Writing Flow With Speed and Grace

We use hyphens to connect two or more words to make a single adjective before a noun. The “rules” for using hyphens are flexible and people often disagree when it is and isn’t correct to use them.

  • A well-known writer
  • A one-way street
  • A lemon-yellow t-shirt

Note: When we use the compound adjective after the noun, it cannot be hyphened. 

  • The writer is well known
  • The street is one way
  • The t-shirt is lemon yellow

You can use a hyphens with compound numbers:

  • 49 = forty-nine
  • 72 = seventy-two
  • 36 = thirty-six

You can use a hyphen with ex-, self-, all-, pre-, mid-

  • ex-wife
  • self-confident
  • mid-December
  • all-inclusive
  • pre-moon landing

You can use hyphens to make your writing flow more but it’s very important the you don’t over-use them. I often use hyphens to add-a-bit-of-rhythm to my writing, but remember, many people will not always like it!

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Make Your Writing Flow With Speed and Grace We use hyphens to connect two or more words to make a single adjective before a...
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