Hyphens Exercise (590)

Determine whether a hyphen should be inserted in or omitted from each sentence.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Convey the company’s point-of-view on privacy, the sharing economy, and online identity issues.
Correct : Convey the company’s point of view on privacy, the sharing economy, and online-identity issues.

The noun phrase "point of view," like most other noun phrases, is open, with no hyphenation. However, "online identity," as a phrasal adjective preceding the noun "issues," requires a hyphen.

2.
Original: The research identifies schools or school districts whose students have better than predicted outcomes.
Correct : The research identifies schools or school districts whose students have better-than-predicted outcomes.

The words in the phrase "better than predicted," because they constitute a phrasal adjective before the noun "outcomes," should be hyphenated. (Such a phrase is not hyphenated after a noun, however, as in "The outcomes were better than predicted.")

3.
Original: Will metrics and the data collection and analysis processes allow the organization to determine which initiatives and programs were effective?
Correct : Will metrics and the data-collection and data-analysis processes allow the organization to determine which initiatives and programs were effective?

Here, "data" is expected to apply to both "collection" and "analysis" to produce two phrasal adjectives, but that is not clear whether "analysis" is intended to stand on its own. Because the phrasal adjectives must be hyphenated to demonstrate that each applies, as a two-word phrase" to the noun ("processes"), the word data should be repeated. (The alternative, to use suspensive hyphenation to produce the phrase "data-collection and -analysis," is awkward.)

4.
Original: I was skeptical about the reported results from the get go.
Correct : I was skeptical about the reported results from the get-go.

"Get-go," as a noun phrase meaning "beginning," is an exception to the rule that noun phrases are not hyphenated.

5.
Original: The space station astronauts stretched their legs on a 5-1/2 hour spacewalk.
Correct : The space station astronauts stretched their legs on a 5 1/2-hour spacewalk.

A hyphen should not be used to link a whole number and a fraction in a mixed fraction, but a hyphen is needed to connect the mixed fraction itself with the reference to the unit of time to form a phrasal adjective modifying "spacewalk."

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