Hyphenation Exercise (513)

For each sentence, add or remove hyphens as necessary.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: This handy little item is a must have for any serious traveler.
Correct : This handy little item is a must-have for any serious traveler.

The noun phrase "must-have," meaning "indispensable item," is hyphenated.

2.
Original: Americans for Safe Access is a leading medical marijuana advocacy organization.
Correct : Americans for Safe Access is a leading medical-marijuana-advocacy organization.

The three words preceding "organization" should be hyphenated to signal that together, they modify "organization." But it would be better to relax the phrase, as in "Americans for Safe Access is a leading organization advocating for legal medical marijuana."

3.
Original: She graduated from college after just two-and-a-half years.
Correct : She graduated from college after just two and a half years.

Words expressing a mixed fraction are hyphenated only when they, along with a word for a measurable thing, combine to modify a noun, as in "two-and-a-half-year ordeal."

4.
Original: Congress is divided over an unavoidably tough vote-of-conscience on overseas conflict.
Correct : Congress is divided over an unavoidably tough vote of conscience on overseas conflict.

As with most noun phrases, "vote of conscience" requires no hyphenation.

5.
Original: We are a cooperative of family farms consisting of third-and-fourth generation growers.
Correct : We are a cooperative of family farms consisting of third- and fourth-generation growers.

The phrasal adjectives preceding "growers" are "third-generation" and "fourth-generation" with the first instance of "generation" omitted because the kinship of "third" and "fourth" makes it clear that each word refers to a generation. However, in such usage, known as suspensive hyphenation, a letter space follows the first hyphen to indicate the omission.

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