Hyphens Exercise (709)

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

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: They decided to adopt a get tough attitude after the policy was widely ignored.
Correct : They decided to adopt a get-tough attitude after the policy was widely ignored.

The phrasal adjective "get tough" should be hyphenated before a noun.

2.
Original: We anticipate that this task will take one-to-three hours each weeknight.
Correct : We anticipate that this task will take one to three hours each weeknight.

The number range "one to three hours" requires no hyphenation because "to" serves as a bridge between the two numbers in the range (an en dash, not a hyphen, could substitute for "to" in that function) and because the phrase does not combine to modify a noun (as in "one- to three-hour task," where, in a case of suspensive hyphenation, "hour" is implied before "one"). A hyphen after "to" is never correct.

3.
Original: New small craft roasters continue to pop-up regularly in San Francisco.
Correct : New small craft roasters continue to pop up regularly in San Francisco.

The verb phrase "pop up" does not require a hyphen. (Also, "small" and "craft" are not parts of a phrasal adjective that modifiers "roasters," in the same way that "small" and "craft" combine to modify "advisory" in "small-craft advisory"; the reference is to craft roasters that are small.)

4.
Original: Choose your favorite Spanish style paintings from millions of available designs.
Correct : Choose your favorite Spanish-style paintings from millions of available designs.

When "style" is part of a phrasal adjective describing a person, place, or thing, it should be hyphenated to the preceding word.

5.
Original: His wife, patient and long-suffering, finally snapped one day.
Correct : His wife, patient and long suffering, finally snapped one day.

Most phrasal adjectives such as "long suffering" are hyphenated only before the noun they modify.

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