Hyphen

* hyphens are used to join words to make new words. The rules for hyphens are complicated and vary in different publishing houses and between individual writers. American English uses rather fewer hyphens than British English. If you are in doubt, check in a dictionary.

* hyphens are most commonly used in the following kinds of compounds:

noun - adverb

hands-on applications

adjective compounds in -ed or -ing

cone-shaped piece of stock problem-solving steps

coordination compounds

Paper-and-pencil skills

Garbage in-garbage out (GIGO) is the description the computer personnel used for invalid data inputs and sometimes disastrous results

Compounds expressing numerals and fractions

two-dimensional shapes four-sided figure 8-foot length

Compounds in which the first base is a single capital letter

U-turn

after certain prefixes, e.g. ex-, half-, non-, quasi-, self -, etc

half-time, quasi-state, non-existent, self-study

* phrases which have no hyphen normally have to have them when used as an adjective phrase before a noun

open phrase

phrase used as an adjective

The investigation was carried out on the spot.

They carried out an on-the-spot investigation.

He is out of work.

He is an out-of-work miner.

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