Grammar Rule #1: Hyphens hunker down.
On your keyboard, the hyphen key is tapped once, to look like this: -
If you tap twice, you have an em dash, which looks like this: —
Do not put a space on either side of a hyphen. It should always hunker down between two words, like this: word-word.
I have a toll-free number. (correct)
I have a toll—free number. (em dash = incorrect)
I have a toll - free number. (space on either side = incorrect)
Grammar Rule #2: Exception to hyphens hunkering down.
When the second part of a hyphenated word or compound word is omitted (because it shares the second part with a word immediately following), use a space after the hyphen.
Instead of first-place and second-place winners, you can correctly write first- and second-place winners.
Instead of northwest and southwest avenues, you can correctly write north- and southwest avenues.
BUT: for overpaid and overrated employees, you cannot write overpaid and –rated employees (because the second part of the words must be the same, not the first part).
Grammar Challenge: Your Turn! Which examples are correct?
1. She lives in a third - floor apartment.
2. It’s located on a north-south street.
3. Her grandfather and –mother own the building.
4. They take care of her three-year-old son while she’s at work.
5. She shares a half—day job with her brother.
6. The job is only a five- to ten-minute walk from her building.
(Answers are below.)
MORE HYPHEN RULES COMING TUESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY.
Correct answers are the even numbers. How did you do?