Hyphen or not

When two separate words are joined to become one, you need to use a hyphen. Those joined words then become an adjective. Look at these examples:


(a) as a single adjective before a noun

  • This is a two-way traffic, so drive carefully.
  • Dan Brown became a well-known author when he wrote “Da Vinci Code”.
  • I attended a boring three-day training programme.

(b) to indicate numbers

  • We have thirty-two students today.
  • The man who passed away was only forty-two.

(c) after a prefix

  • Donald Trump is a self-made millionaire.
  • In the pre-dawn attack, many were killed.
  • My neighbour is an ex-policeman.
  • There will be a big sale in mid-year.

Take note:
Words that are joined to become an adjective do not have plural forms, so it is wrong to say:

  • This is a two-ways traffic, so drive carefully. (X)
  • I attended a boring three-days training programme. (X)

Posted on October 17, 2009, in Word Power and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Wow this is a very nice site Sir Kevin. Great guide to english lingo..

  2. by the way, thank you so much for casting your vote for my daughter!

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