Hyphens Exercise (691)

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

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: The book is an artifact of the company’s lofty late ’70s goals.
Correct : The book is an artifact of the company’s lofty late-’70s goals.

The goals are described as being from the late 1970s (with the reference to the decade abbreviated), so the phrasal adjective "late 70s" should be hyphenated.

2.
Original: They said any temporary funding measure should have a short time-span.
Correct : They said any temporary funding measure should have a short time span.

The noun phrase "time span" is an open compound.

3.
Original: He is the self styled guru of a growing sect of true believers.
Correct : He is the self-styled guru of a growing sect of true believers.

With one small set of exceptions, all compounds beginning with "self," whether nouns ("self-esteem"), verbs ("self-medicate"), adjectives ("self-important"), or adverbs ("self-importantly"), are hyphenated.

4.
Original: From the first time I saw him, I found his manner over-reaching.
Correct : From the first time I saw him, I found his manner overreaching.

As with most prefixes, "over" is always attached directly to the root word it modifies, even if the first letter of the root word is "r."

5.
Original: Smith, arguably the most-respected member of the committee, denounced the report.
Correct : Smith, arguably the most respected member of the committee, denounced the report.

Comparatives ("more" and "less") and superlatives ("most" and "least") are not hyphenated as part of a phrasal adjective.

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