Hyphens Exercise (58)

The following sentences include terms that may or may not require one or more hyphens. Choose the sentence from each pair that includes a term that correctly includes or omits a hyphen.

    1.
    There was a near-miss at the airport yesterday.
    There was a near miss at the airport yesterday.

    2.
    This line is at a right-angle to that one.
    This line is at a right angle to that one.

    3.
    She advocated for right to work laws.
    She advocated for right-to-work laws.

    4.
    I’m a lighthearted person.
    I’m a light-hearted person.

    5.
    Ever since then, he’s been seizure-free.
    Ever since then, he’s been seizure free.

Answers and Explanations

1. There was a near miss at the airport yesterday.
When near modifies an adjective, as in "near-dead condition," hyphenate the two words, but when it modifies a noun, there’s no reason to use a hyphen.

2. This line is at a right angle to that one.
Very few compound nouns are hyphenated; this isn’t one of them.

3. She advocated for right-to-work laws.
As a unit, the phrase "right to work" modifies laws, so the phrase should be unified with hyphens.

4. I’m a lighthearted person.
Some compound adjectives are closed, rather than hyphenated; this is one of them.

5. Ever since then, he’s been seizure-free.
Phrasal adjectives in which the second word is free are hyphenated before and after a noun. (Toll-free is another example.)

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