RULES FOR USING HYPHEN
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.
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
RULES FOR DASH USAGE
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.