Punctuation Exercise (387)

Edit the following sentences to provide hyphens where needed.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: At thirty three, he was the youngest to be elected to the office of Attorney General of the United States.
Correct : At thirty-three, he was the youngest to be elected to the office of Attorney General of the United States.

Use a hyphen with compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine. "Attorney General" does not require a hyphen.

2.
Original: While examining our grandmother’s bank account, we discovered that one third of her income goes to pay for insurance.
Correct : While examining our grandmother’s bank account, we discovered that one-third of her income goes to pay for insurance.

In written fractions, place a hyphen between the numerator and denominator. "Bank account" is an open compound.

3.
Original: The distance is precisely seventy three one eighths of the other one.
Correct : The distance is precisely seventy-three one-eighths of the other one.

This is an exception to the rule of placing a hyphen between numerator and denominator of a written fraction. If there is already a hyphen in either the numerator (seventy-three) or the denominator (one-eighths), you omit the hyphen between the numerator and denominator.

4.
Original: Who’s your favorite nineteenth century novelist?
Correct : Who’s your favorite nineteenth-century novelist?

Use a hyphen when the number forms part of an adjectival compound.

5.
Original: Fox hunters claim that foxhounds have bell like tones.
Correct : Fox hunters claim that foxhounds have bell-like tones.

Compound words in which the first word element ends with the same consonant that begins the second element require a hyphen for clarity. If the consonants are different, no hyphen is usually needed: foxhounds.

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