Examples of correctly used hyphens

By Lauren Edwards

These are correct uses of hyphens:

  1. Please follow up with her — no hyphen
  2. Please handle the follow-up
  3. Please make the follow-up call
  4. lily-lined basket, family-owned business, enterprise-class technology, back-to-school shopping, up-to-date information
  5. She’s going back to school — no hyphen
  6. The information is up to date — no hyphen
  7. wholly owned subsidiary — no hyphen
  8. merrily rowed boat — no hyphen
  9. centrally located benches — no hyphen
  10. happily married couple — no hyphen
  11. frequently misspelled word — no hyphen
  12. Indiana-based business or Indiana based business — editors disagree
  13. 15-, 17- and 24-inch models
  14. 15-inch model, 17-inch model and 24-inch model
  15. merry-go-round
  16. holiday gift-giving
  17. nonprofit, firsthand, startup, cofounder — no hyphen
  18. touch screen, but touch-screen technology
  19. health care, but health-care company
  20. 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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