By Lauren Edwards
These are correct uses of hyphens:
- Please follow up with her — no hyphen
- Please handle the follow-up
- Please make the follow-up call
- lily-lined basket, family-owned business, enterprise-class technology, back-to-school shopping, up-to-date information
- She’s going back to school — no hyphen
- The information is up to date — no hyphen
- wholly owned subsidiary — no hyphen
- merrily rowed boat — no hyphen
- centrally located benches — no hyphen
- happily married couple — no hyphen
- frequently misspelled word — no hyphen
- Indiana-based business or Indiana based business — editors disagree
- 15-, 17- and 24-inch models
- 15-inch model, 17-inch model and 24-inch model
- holiday gift-giving
- nonprofit, firsthand, startup, cofounder — no hyphen
- touch screen, but touch-screen technology
- health care, but health-care company
- end user, but end-user feedback
I’ve got 14 pages of explanation, examples and practice in my Eagle Eye workbook, which I use in my elite copyediting program. Those pages also include the difference between a dash and a hyphen.
My workbook for Latest & Greatest AP style has fewer pages on this topic, but just enough for tech teams to avoid common errors.
At some point, maybe I’ll turn this compound-modifier material into a standalone PDF and sell it for a low price, say $9.99, If this interests you, please send me a note. I’ll save your email and let you know.
Meanwhile, I hope you’ve enjoyed this handy list.
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