Using Hyphens

The correct use of hyphens is often overlooked. It is worth the time to teach your students some of the common ways in which hyphens are used.
Hyphens are used:

  • for the compound numbers twenty-one to ninety-nine.
  • in a compound adjective that comes before a noun. For example, “I think that is a made-up word.”
  • in compounds consisting of prefixes joined to proper nouns. For example, “Our school year begins in mid-August.”
  • to separate the numerator from the denominator in a fraction. For example, “More than “one-half” of the class voted to have a pizza party.”
  • to avoid confusion. For example, “He is a French-speaking student” refers to a student who speaks French, not to a student from France who speaks.