Many of us get confused about when to hyphenate between words. For example, should you write nearly-extinct wolves or nearly extinct wolves?
Adverbs ending in -ly should not be hyphenated.
In most cases it is compound adjectives–adjectives that act as one idea with other adjectives–that get hyphenated in front of nouns.
Example: The crowd threw out the barely edible cake.
The word barely is an -ly adverb answering how edible the cake was.
Example: It’s a lovely-looking home.
The word lovely is an -ly adjective, because we could say a lovely home.
Example: We live in a two-story building.
The word two in this sentence is an adjective working together with story to describe the noun building. Therefore, two-story is a compound adjective requiring a hyphen.
Example: The announcer offered a blow-by-blow description of the boxers’ punches.
Blow-by-blow is acting as one idea. Therefore, it is a compound adjective.
Example: Our building is two stories.
Often when the description follows the noun, it is not necessary to hyphenate it.
To learn more about hyphens, click here.
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Posted on Tuesday, August 17, 2010, at 1:47 pm78 Comments on Hyphenating Between Words