Hyphens Exercise (632)
In each sentence, determine whether one or hyphens should be inserted or omitted.
Answers and Explanations
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."
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.
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.")
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").
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."