Hyphens Exercise (745)

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

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: You might find yourself in a high-stakes tenant situation that is less-than-favorable.
Correct : You might find yourself in a high-stakes tenant situation that is less than favorable.

The phrasal adjective "high stakes" is correctly hyphenated. Regardless of the length or complexity of a phrasal adjective, however, it is rarely hyphenated after the noun, so "less than favorable" should not include hyphens.

2.
Original: It was the first assisted dying law passed in the United States.
Correct : It was the first assisted-dying law passed in the United States.

An assisted dying law is a dying law that was assisted; an assisted-dying law is a law that relates to assisted dying. The first form makes no sense, but the second one correctly describes the kind of law that is being referred to.

3.
Original: The heart healthy diet is rich in vitamins and minerals and low in polyunsaturated fats and high-fructose corn syrup.
Correct : The heart-healthy diet is rich in vitamins and minerals and low in polyunsaturated fats and high-fructose corn syrup.

The words "heart" and "healthy" combine to modify "diet," so the two words should be hyphenated; "high fructose" is correctly hyphenated as a phrasal adjective.

4.
Original: The archaeological team uncovered a centuries old tomb.
Correct : The archaeological team uncovered a centuries-old tomb.

The sentence erroneously refers to an old tomb that is centuries; to refer to a tomb that is centuries old, the phrasal adjective must be hyphenated.

5.
Original: This is the 100th-anniversary of the founding of the town.
Correct : This is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the town.

No hyphen is necessary between the ordinal number and the noun it refers to.

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