Hyphens Exercise (532)

Determine whether a hyphen should be inserted in each sentence.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: A 4,000 square-foot parking lot is at the center of a land battle between its owners and residents.
Correct : A 4,000-square-foot parking lot is at the center of a land battle between its owners and residents.

The entire phrase referring to size "4,000 square feet," must be hyphenated to show that the words combine to modify the noun phrase "parking lot."

2.
Original: Because her house is not insulated, she chose a comforter that is extra thick.
Correct : Because her house is not insulated, she chose a comforter that is extra thick.

This sentence is correct as is; phrasal adjectives such as "extra thick" are usually hyphenated only when they precede a noun, as in "the extra-thick comforter."

3.
Original: It had taken the cargo plane eight and a half hours to fly to its destination.
Correct : It had taken the cargo plane eight and a half hours to fly to its destination.

This sentence is correct as is. Constructions such as "eight and a half" are often erroneously hyphenated; hyphens are necessary only when such a phrase and a unit of time or distance modifies a following noun, as in "eight-and-a-half-hour flight."

4.
Original: We have move-in ready homes for right-now buyers.
Correct : We have move-in-ready homes for right-now buyers.

The homes are "move-in ready" (meaning "ready to move in to"), so a hyphen should also link "ready" to "move-in" to indicate that the three words combine to modify "homes."

5.
Original: Some cosmetic surgeons specialize in performing operations they say will give patients younger looking eyes.
Correct : Some cosmetic surgeons specialize in performing operations they say will give patients younger-looking eyes.

"Younger" and "looking" together modify "eyes" and should therefore be hyphenated.

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