Hyphens Exercise (517)

For each sentence below, insert or delete a hyphen if necessary.

Answers and Explanations

Original: They prefer to switch to a more-effective brand.
Correct : They prefer to switch to a more effective brand.

The adverb "most," just like its siblings "least," "less," and "more," is not hyphenated to an adjective that follows it.

Original: She claims she did it in self defense.
Correct : She claims she did it in self-defense.

Noun phrases (such as "self-esteem") and phrasal adjectives (such as "self-righteous") that begin with "self" are always hyphenated.

Original: We went to the same school until the end of fifth grade.
Correct : We went to the same school until the end of fifth grade.

This sentence is correct as is. References to levels such as grades and classes ("first class") are hyphenated only when the phrase precedes a noun it modifies (as in "sixth-grade curriculum").

Original: John Smith broke a twenty-one-year old record at the tournament.
Correct : John Smith broke a twenty-one-year-old record at the tournament.

"Old" is part of the phrasal adjective describing the age of the record, so it must be appended to the rest of the phrase.

Original: Protesters staged a climate crisis demonstration on Wall Street.
Correct : Protesters staged a climate-crisis demonstration on Wall Street.

"Climate" and "crisis" together modify "demonstration," so they should be hyphenated because they precede the noun; no hyphen is necessary if the phrase follows the noun ("Protesters staged a demonstration on Wall Street about the climate crisis"), because in that form the phrase is a noun phrase, not a phrasal adjective.

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