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Online Quiz (Worksheet A B C D)

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Grade 5 - English Language
2.16 Punctuation - Hyphen (-), Dash (—)


A hyphen is used to divide or join words. Hyphens are also used to create new words.

To divide a word at the end of a line:
In the days of typewriters, hyphen was used to divide a word when one ran out of room at the end of a line. During the age of computer word processing, manually dividing a word at the end of a line is no longer needed. However, if you must divide a word at the end of a line, the word may be divided only between syllables. Never divide one-syllable words and contractions such as haven't, shouldn't.

In compound words:
A hyphen is used to make some compound words.
Example: Matt was not well-known, even though he climbed Mt. Everest.

In fractions:
A hyphen is used between the numbers in a fraction.
Example: Jake ate three-quarters of a large pizza!

To form an adjective:
The hyphen is used to join two or more words which work together to form a single adjective before a noun.
The nine-year-old boy was injured.
The injured woman is thirty-five years old.

To create new words:
A hyphen is used to form new words beginning with the prefixes self, ex, great, all, and half. A hyphen is also used with suffixes such as free and elect.
Examples: great-grandfather, half-baked, all-purpose, self-esteem, sugar-free, president-elect


A dash (—) is used to emphasis what follows. Dashes should be used sparingly — no more than one or two per paragraph.

  • Use a dash to change topic or structure
    Example: This is very important — are you listening to me?

  • Use a dash if the information that follows is surprising and unexpected.
    Example: We went shopping in Hollywood — and met Tom Hanks.

  • Use dashes in a dialog to show hesitation.
    Example: I—I—I don't know.

  • Use a dash to summarize or to communicate additional information.
    Example: Jack, Jill, Sally, Molly and I — we all were taken aback.

  • Use a dash to enclose emphasized additional information which interrupts the normal progression of the sentence.
    Example: He wanted us—Jill, Betsy and me—to meet his family.

Directions: Choose if the dashes/hyphens have been used correctly in the following sentences. Write your own examples for the dash and hyphen usage rules given above. As a homework, read a book and find sentences containing dashes and hyphens.
Q 1: At that moment I was interested in just one thing-namely, my lunch.
hyphen is correct
hyphen is incorrect — should use a dash instead

Q 2: Last Friday—no, it was the Friday before—he gave us the essay part of the exam.
dashes are incorrect — should use hyphens instead
dashes are correct

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Question 4: This question is available to subscribers only!

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