Hyphens Exercise (632)

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

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Four-percent of adults may have ADHD.
Correct : Four percent of adults may have ADHD.

Numbers are not hyphenated to the word "percent." A hyphen would appear in a reference to percentage only in a number such as "twenty-five."

2.
Original: All art is, in a sense, a give and take between impulse and control.
Correct : All art is, in a sense, a give-and-take between impulse and control.

"Give-and-take" is a compound noun hyphenated so that it is clearly a single term.

3.
Original: Colorado’s free birth control experiment could change the world.
Correct : Colorado’s free-birth-control experiment could change the world.

The experiment is about free birth control, so those three key words are hyphenated. (Without the first hyphen, "free birth-control experiment" implies that the experiment, rather than the birth control, is free. The sentence can also be relaxed to eliminate the need for hyphens: "Colorado’s experiment in free birth control could change the world.")

4.
Original: The 37 year old elephant is just too ill to eat anymore.
Correct : The 37-year-old elephant is just too ill to eat anymore.

References to ages with the elements "year" and "old" are hyphenated when, with a number, they modify a noun (which may be only implied, as in "Her four-year-old was taking a nap").

5.
Original: Visit cosmetic surgeon Dr. John Smith for younger looking eyes.
Correct : Visit cosmetic surgeon Dr. John Smith for younger-looking eyes.

This sentence erroneously refers to looking eyes that are younger. Hyphenate the phrasal adjective so that "younger looking" clearly modifies "eyes."

Related Articles

Subscribe to our articles and exercises