Hyphens Exercise (735)

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

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Most slaves worked 12 to 15-hour days in the fields.
Correct : Most slaves worked 12- to 15-hour days in the fields.

The numbers "12" and 15" share the unit term "hour," and to show that "hour" is implied after "12" as well as explicit after "15," a hyphen followed by a letter space, in a form called suspensive hyphenation, follows the first number to show that it does not appear in isolation.

2.
Original: The heaviest precipitation fell early Monday, dumping as much as a third-of-an-inch an hour in some areas.
Correct : The heaviest precipitation fell early Monday, dumping as much as a third of an inch an hour in some areas.

The phrase referring to a fraction of an inch needs no hyphenation; "one-third" and the like, however, should include a hyphen.

3.
Original: Keep an eye out for some exclusive behind the scenes footage.
Correct : Keep an eye out for some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.

The footage is described as being from behind the scenes, so that modifying phrase should be hyphenated.

4.
Original: A test-drive is the driving of an automobile to assess its drivability, or roadworthiness, and general operating state.
Correct : A test drive is the driving of an automobile to assess its drivability, or roadworthiness, and general operating state.

"Test drive," here appearing as an open compound noun, is hyphenated only as a verb, as in "I’m going to test-drive the new model."

5.
Original: We’re scheduling a get together later this month.
Correct : We’re scheduling a get-together later this month.

The informal compound noun for a gathering is hyphenated to differentiate it from the verb phrase "get together."

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