Where and when hyphens should be used?

Hyphens can cause problems. When should they be used? When shouldn’t they be used? What are the rules?

Firstly, there aren’t any hard and fast rules. If you’re following a particular style guide (Chicago, Harvard, MLA, etc), then they all have their own specifications.

But if you’re looking for a general guide, then you’ve come to the right place.

Hyphens should aways be used in terms such as “self-assured”, “self-indugent”, and so on. Basically, any phrase starting with “self” should be hyphenated.

But phrases which describe a noun, eg, “he was an over-indulgent person”, “she was a pretty-looking girl”, “it was a very ordinary-looking world”, should be hyphenated. UNLESS the word ends in -ly. For example, “it was an indulgantly looking table”, “he is an overly accomplished guitarist”, “she is a serverely free comedian of being funny”.

I hope that helps you somewhat! If you need to get in touch and ask any questions, feel free to email me at prooftheword.com@gmail.com!

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4 thoughts on “Where and when hyphens should be used?

  1. Every time I visit this site I learn something new and interesting.

    1. proofistheword July 7, 2019 — 11:32 pm

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    2. proofistheword July 7, 2019 — 11:42 pm

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  2. proofistheword June 20, 2019 — 1:14 am

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