Hyphens Exercise (601)
Determine whether one or more hyphens should be inserted or omitted in each sentence.
Answers and Explanations
Original: Apple admitted to a 70-30 male to female staff ratio globally last year.
Correct : Apple admitted to a 70-30 male-to-female staff ratio globally last year.
The hyphen in the ratio "70-30" is correct (though the ratio can also be written "70-to-30"), but the phrase "male to female," modifying "staff ratio" as a unit, should be hyphenated.
Original: While local officials argue over Bay Bridge designs, France celebrates a privately-financed new span.
Correct : While local officials argue over Bay Bridge designs, France celebrates a privately financed new span.
The phrase preceding "new span" is not a phrasal adjective—"privately" is an adverb that modifies "financed"—so no hyphen is required.
Original: The company has consistently been first-to-market with industry-changing products, services, and systems for publishers.
Correct : The company has consistently been first to market with industry-changing products, services, and systems for publishers.
"First to market" does not modify a noun in this sentence (unlike the phrasal adjective preceding "products"), so no hyphens are necessary.
Original: Natasha works seven-days a week in her flower shop.
Correct : Natasha works seven days a week in her flower shop.
The hyphen in the original version of this sentence serves no purpose. It would be required, however, if the sentence were phrased "Natasha works a seven-day week in her flower shop."
Original: Needless to say, a think before you tweet warning is needed here.
Correct : Needless to say, a think-before-you-tweet warning is needed here.
The phrase describing the kind of warning needed must be hyphenated to indicate that it is a phrasal adjective, a grammatical unit modifying "warning."