Hyphens Exercise (627)

In each sentence, determine whether one or hyphens should be inserted in or omitted.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Smith finally put two-and-two together when he saw a PSA about wildlife protection.
Correct : Smith finally put two and two together when he saw a PSA about wildlife protection.

The fact that two and two are being added does not require that the words for the numbers be connected to each other with hyphens.

2.
Original: The practice is widespread in countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway, where employees work between 29-33 hours per week.
Correct : The practice is widespread in countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway, where employees work between 29 and 33 hours per week.

"Between" should be used in conjunction with "and," not an en dash, when it precedes a number range. (The same form applies to "from," which should be paired with "to" in reference to a number range.) If a dash is used, omit "between" (or "from"): "The practice is widespread in countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway, where employees work 29–33 hours per week."

3.
Original: Apple’s second largest product category by revenue was the iPad.
Correct : Apple’s second-largest product category by revenue was the iPad.

The literal meaning of this sentence is that there are at least two largest product categories at Apple, and the iPad is one of them. But the intended meaning is that of the product categories, the iPad is the second largest. Because "second largest" modifies "product category" as a unit, the phrasal adjective must be hyphenated.

4.
Original: The City Council’s ruling against grocery stores over 100,000-square-feet primarily affects Wal-Mart Supercenters.
Correct : The City Council’s ruling against grocery stores over 100,000 square feet primarily affects Wal-Mart Supercenters.

A phrase specifying square footage should be hyphenated only when it modifies a word, as in "100,000-square-foot store."

5.
Original: Democrats in the US Senate declared victory after the end of a 40 hour debate.
Correct : Democrats in the US Senate declared victory after the end of a 40-hour debate.

"40 hour" (or "forty hour"), as a phrasal adjective modifying "debate," should be hyphenated.

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