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Hyphens with Numbers

Should you write 13-feet or 13 feet? Here is the rule: when you’re combining two or more words to form a compound adjective in front of a noun, put hyphens between these words.

Examples:
Lara handed me a 15-foot pole.
An eighteen-inch monitor is too big for my desk.
Emergency room nurses work 12-hour shifts.
Anthony swung his five-pound hammer.

In the above sentences, the measurements are compound adjectives describing nouns.

When numbers are not used as compound adjectives preceding nouns, don’t use a hyphen. (But remember, all two-word numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine must be hyphenated in all cases.)

Examples:
Suzanne won the race by a solid 15 feet.
The room was 17 feet long.
Twelve hours later, he was exhausted.
Anthony’s hammer weighs five pounds.

To learn more about hyphens, click here.

Pop Quiz

Correct or incorrect?

1. Stella had her hair cut six-inches last week.

2. Her party shoes had three inch heels.

3. Can you lend me your five-foot tape measure?

4. I am 5-feet-2-inches in my bare feet.

5. The water level rose 10-inches in just three hours.

Pop Quiz Answers

1. Stella had her hair cut six inches last week.

2. Her party shoes had three-inch heels.

3. Can you lend me your five-foot tape measure? (Correct)

4. I am 5 feet 2 inches in my bare feet.

5. The water level rose 10 inches in just three hours.

Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, at 10:45 am


113 Comments

113 Responses to “Hyphens with Numbers”

  1. Cathy S says:

    What is the proper way to write the numbers and compound adjectives in the following sentence?
    The site consists of a 5,010 square foot parcel that is occupied by a 15,030 square foot commerical building that was built in 1920.
    Thank you.

    • Jane says:

      My blog on “Numbers as Adjectives” addresses this issue. The rule says, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea. This rule can also be applied when a number and a measurement unit taken together form an adjective, that is, when they describe another object.”
      Examples:
      A 22-inch monitor is too big for my desk.
      Nurses work 12-hour shifts.

      Therefore, the proper way to write the sentence would be:

      The site consists of a 5,010-square-foot parcel that is occupied by a 15,030-square-foot commerical building that was built in 1920.

      • Dennis says:

        Hello Jane…I love your site. I disagree with you on the following use of hyphens, however:

        “Therefore, the proper way to write the sentence would be:

        The site consists of a 5,010-square-foot parcel that is occupied by a 15,030-square-foot commerical building that was built in 1920.”

        I prefer to leave the number alone, with no hyphen attaching it to the “square-foot,” It just looks better. “5,010 square-feet.” In physics, you would not write “450-lb-ft” to describe torque, you would write “450 lb-ft,” since this is HOW torque is measured – in pound-feet! Square-feet is a defined principle of measurement which does not depend on the numerical antecedent for its existence. I could be wrong, but again, it looks too cluttered with the additional hyphen, in my humble opinion.

        • Compound adjectives require hyphens whether they are expressed as words or numerals. The term “5,010-square-foot” is a compound adjective describing the word parcel. In your physics example, 450 is simply a number, not part of a compound adjective. The term “lb-ft” or “pound-foot” is a unit. Therefore, a hyphen is not required after the number in that example. Grammar rules are not based on appearance. We do not make up the rules. We just try to make them easy to understand and show examples.

  2. Ashley says:

    Where does the hyphen go?

    The date of manufacture of the first floor 2 1/2-ton condensing unit is 2000.

    The date of manufacture of the first floor 2-1/2 ton condensing unit is 2000.

    Ashley

    • Jane says:

      Your example sentence contains two compound adjectives, first-floor and 2 1/2-ton. The hyphens come between the adjectives. Our rule 4 in Hyphens states, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.” This rule can also be applied when a number and a measurement unit taken together form an adjective, that is, when they describe another object.

      The date of manufacture of the first-floor, 2 1/2-ton condensing unit is 2000. OR
      The first-floor, 2 1/2-ton condensing unit was manufactured in the year 2000.

  3. Maria says:

    I am updating the bylaws and I have a question about punctuation. Here is my paragraph:

    All members are required to fulfill two 3-hour maintenance day commitments. A three-hour maintenance day is defined as one person working for a total of three (3) hours or two persons working for 90 minutes. Exclusions are Parent/Tot families and Board members; both are required to fulfill one 3-hour maintenance day.

    What is the correct punctuation? Where do I add actual numbers in parentheses and how do I punctuate sentences where two numbers are back-to-back, such as “two 3-hour maintenance days”?

    • Jane says:

      Since your document is not densely populated with large numbers, you do not need to include the numerals in parentheses. By being consistent in the use of numerals for numbers describing time and writing out the other small numbers, you can avoid having to insert punctuation, such as commas. Also, since you are defining a term, I recommend using italics for the term itself and enclosing the definition in quotes. Therefore, your paragraph would look like this:

      All members are required to fulfill two 3-hour maintenance day commitments. A 3-hour maintenance day is defined as “one person working for a total of 3 hours or two persons working for 90 minutes.” Exclusions are parent/tot families and board members; both are required to fulfill one 3-hour maintenance day.

  4. Asok says:

    I am thankful to your excellent Website, GrammarBook.com, which has benefited me a lot. May I request you to please explain why it is written “3-year Degree Course instead of 3 years Degree Course.”
    Thanks.

    • Jane says:

      The phrase “three-year-degree” is a compound adjective that acts as a single idea and describes the singular noun course. A compound adjective in front of a noun requires hyphens. Also, spell out single-digit whole numbers. Since you are not referring to a specific course title, it does not need to be capitalized. Thus, “three-year-degree course.”

      If not used as an adjective, you might write this: It takes three years to complete the course work and obtain the degree.

  5. Kristen says:

    Which of the following is correct:

    The smallest book in the Library of Congress measures one-twenty-fifth inch by one-twenty-fifth inch.

    or

    The smallest book in the Library of Congress measures one-twenty fifth inch by one-twenty fifth inch.

    or

    The smallest book in the Library of Congress measures one twenty-fifth inch by one twenty-fifth inch.

    Thanks

    • Jane says:

      The Chicago Manual of Style‘s hyphenation guide says, “Simple fractions are hyphenated in noun, adjective, and adverb forms except when the second element is already hyphenated.”

      The smallest book in the Library of Congress measures one twenty-fifth inch by one twenty-fifth inch.

  6. mitzi says:

    How about, in a formal wedding invitation…

    at one-thirty in the afternoon?

    • Jane says:

      Rule 12 of Writing Numbers states, “Normally, spell out the time of day in text even with half and quarter hours. With o’clock, the number is always spelled out.

      Examples:
      She gets up at four thirty before the baby wakes up.
      The baby wakes up at five o’clock in the morning.

      Therefore, “at one thirty in the afternoon” is correct. You may find that some of the wedding websites disagree with this. Our rule is based on Chicago Manual of Style’s rule 9.38. Wedding invitations sometimes have their own sets of rules and they are not always the same as rules for formal writing.

  7. Matt says:

    Which is correct:
    A) We require a staff of seven to ten employees.

    or

    B) We require a staff of 7-10 employees.

    Thank you.

    • Jane says:

      Our Rule 1 of Writing Numbers says, “Spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.” Rule 2 states, “Be consistent within a category. For example, if you choose numerals because one of the numbers is greater than nine, use numerals for all numbers in that category. If you choose to spell out numbers because one of the numbers is a single digit, spell out all numbers in that category.” Therefore, either sentence is grammatically correct. If you choose to go with the numerals, use an en dash to separate them.

      We require a staff of seven to ten employees. OR
      We require a staff of 7–10 employees.

  8. JP says:

    Which format is correct for the numbers in each of the two following lines?

    Twenty five of the students OR Twenty-five of the students
    Twenty-five students OR Twenty five students

    I was taught that numbers like twenty five are hyphenated if used as an adjective as in Line 2 but not hyphenated when used as a noun as in Line 1.

    • Jane says:

      The number twenty-five is always hyphenated regardless of how it is used in a sentence. You are most likely thinking of the rule from our Hyphens with Numbers blog which states, “When you’re combining two or more words to form a compound adjective in front of a noun, put hyphens between these words. When numbers are used as nouns, don’t use a hyphen.”

      Examples:
      An 18-inch monitor is too big for my desk.
      Anthony swung his five-pound hammer.
      Anthony’s hammer weighs five pounds.
      The room was 17 feet long.

  9. Rachel says:

    Which format would be correct here:

    Griddles plates are available in different thicknesses ranging from thin plates (three-eighth inch to three-fourths inch) to thick plates (one-inch to one-and-one-half inch)….

    or should this be written numerically?
    …thin plates (3/8-inch to 3/4-inch) to thick plates (1-inch to 1-1/2-inch)….

    Normally I follow the under ten write it out rule, but with the fractions I am not sure! Thanks for your advice!

    • Jane says:

      Rachel, while you may have thought you were asking a relatively simple question, this is really a complex lesson in writing numbers. The first complexity is that your example contains both simple fractions and a mixed fraction. Rule 3 of Writing Numbers says “Always spell out simple fractions and use hyphens with them.” This would lead us to write three-eighths inch and three-fourths inch. Rule 4 says “A mixed fraction can be expressed in figures unless it is the first word of a sentence,” which would allow us to write 1 1/2 inches in figures rather than write it out. Let’s bring in Rule 2 which cautions us to “Be consistent within a category.” Therefore, we should either write them all out in words or express them all in figures. Whether a hyphen is placed before the word “inch” or not depends upon whether these are compound adjectives or simple measurements. My guess is that you have simple measurements within your parentheses which, if written out, are really saying “. . . thicknesses ranging from thin plates (three-eighths of an inch thick to three-fourths of an inch thick)” rather than in compound adjective form “. . . thicknesses ranging from thin plates (three-eighths-inch thick plates to three-quarters-inch thick plates).”

      To be fully grammatically correct, I recommend “Griddle plates are available in different thicknesses ranging from thin plates (three-eighths of an inch to three-fourths of an inch) to thick plates (one inch to one and one-half inches).” Also acceptable would be “Griddle plates are available in different thicknesses ranging from thin plates (3/8 inch to 3/4 inch) to thick plates (1 inch to 1 1/2 inch).”

  10. Al says:

    Which is correct to say
    He is a 3-year old baby.
    He is a 3-years old baby.
    He is a three-year old baby.
    He is a three-years old baby.
    He is a three year old baby.
    He is a three years old baby.

    • Jane says:

      Our Rule 1 of Numbers says, “Spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.” Also, our blog Hyphens with Numbers says, ” When you’re combining two or more words to form a compound adjective in front of a noun, put hyphens between these words.” Therefore, write He is a three-year-old baby.

  11. Al says:

    Thank you so much, Jane.

  12. Al says:

    I know this question does not belong to the subject but, Please I need an answer. Which is correct to say and why?
    How long will it takes ?
    or
    How long will it take ?

    He will arrives tomorrow.
    or
    He will arrive tomorrow.

    • Jane says:

      This is covered in our blog “When to Add ‘s’ to a Verb.” Your sentences contain the auxiliary verb will. An auxiliary verb is to be followed by the base form of the main verb. Therefore use take and arrive.

      How long will it take?
      He will arrive tomorrow.

  13. Al says:

    Thanks a Lot, Jane.

  14. kelse says:

    is it ive done girl scouts for five-years or five years

    • Jane says:

      Since the word five is not a compound adjective, do not hyphenate. Also, the word Girl Scouts is a proper name and should be capitalized.
      I’ve done Girl Scouts for five years.

  15. jennifer says:

    When you are capitalizing hyphenated numbers in a title, does the second number appear in lower case?

    Twenty-first commencement exercise or/
    Twenty-First Commencement Exercie

    • Jane says:

      The Chicago Manual of Style’s Rule 8.159, Hyphenated compounds in headline-style titles, states, “Capitalize the second element in a hyphenated spelled-out number (twenty-one or twenty-first, etc.) or hyphenated simple fraction (two-thirds in two-thirds majority).”

      Twenty-First Commencement Exercise

  16. Ingrid says:

    Well, but the hyphenating rules doesn’t explain why it would be 5-foot instead of 5-feet in the first place, i.e. the use of the plural instead of the singular.
    I’m assuming it’s because the noun is considered one single mass rather than individual units, but how is that explained in grammatical terms?

    • Jane says:

      You are writing about a singular object which consists of a compound adjective in front of a noun, such as a 5-foot fence, a 3-pound hammer, or a 2-inch hem. It is different if you are referring to the measurement itself such as 3 feet tall, 10 pounds lighter, or 2 inches shorter.

  17. Kimber says:

    I am writing instructions for a kit….

    Which is correct?

    “This area needs to be a 2- to 3-foot section…”
    “This area needs to be a 2 to 3-foot section…”
    “This area needs to be a two- to three-foot section…”
    “This area needs to be a two-foot to three-foot section…”

    Or is there another way that I have missed?

    • Jane says:

      Our Rule 1 of Writing Numbers says, “Spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.” Also, the Chicago Manual of Style’s rule 7.84 says, “When the second part of a hyphenated expression is omitted, the hyphen is retained, followed by a space.” Repeating the word foot is not required.
      Therefore, write either “a two- to three-foot section” or “a two-foot to three-foot section.”

      However, I am not sure I am understanding you correctly. Saying “a two- to three-foot section” implies only one linear dimension. An area consists of two dimensions. If that is the case, then you would need to write “This section needs to measure two feet by three feet” or something to this effect.

  18. Joseph says:

    This website is awesome. Thanks Jane.

  19. Christine says:

    I am wondering how this would work with regards to GHz.

    Should I be writing 2.4 and 5 GHz bands
    or should I be using hyphens? I find them quite disturbing in this context.

    • Jane says:

      Our blog Hyphens with Numbers contains this general rule: when you’re combining two or more words to form a compound adjective in front of a noun, put hyphens between these words. If you followed this rule, you would write I am going to use the 5-GHz band (5-GHz is a compound adjective modifying the noun band). On the other hand, if you wrote The frequency I’m going to use is 5 GHz there is no hyphen since 5 GHz is not a compound adjective in this context. That being said, while I am not an expert on radio frequencies or bandwidths, I have not seen hyphens used in this particular subject area, even when clearly being used as a compound adjective. You are probably safe following the standard practices being set here.

  20. Michelle says:

    What is the correct hyphenation for the following sentence?

    The sheets I purchased are 400 thread count.

    Would the hyphen just be placed after 400? (i.e. 400-thread count)

    Thanks!

    • Jane says:

      Our Rule 4 of Hyphens says, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.” Therefore:
      I purchased 400-thread-count sheets. OR
      The sheets I purchased have a 400 thread count.

  21. Logan D says:

    Great site! I learned so much.

    Would it be a “24 unit complex can be built in 9 days” or a “24-unit complex can be built in 9 days?”

    Thanks!

    • Jane says:

      I am glad you find our website useful. Our Rule 4 of Hyphens says, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.” Therefore, write “A 24-unit complex can be built in 9 days.”

  22. Joanne says:

    I’m wondering if I’m hyphenating correctly here:

    “You can purchase a one-, three-, or seven-day pass to the amusement park.”

    (I swear, I spend more time looking up how to properly hyphenate things…I wish it wasn’t so hard for me.)

  23. Debbie F says:

    How would this be hyphenated?

    “The 5 day time frame is for adding the case…”

  24. Cindy says:

    I’m working on a product catalog. Talk about consistency… each supplier has a different way to doing things with their own rules. I’m working on a style book so we can be consistent. Please advise me on the following.

    3″-wide laminated board
    3″ wide laminated board

    Thank you!

    • Jane says:

      The grammatically correct way to write your example is three-inch-wide laminated board. If you must use a numeral, use a hyphen.

      3″-wide laminated board

  25. Genia says:

    Jane, thank you for your guidance, which has been very helpful to me.

    Here is a question regarding a somewhat related subject having to do with abbreviating measurements:
    Which form is correct?
    1. The property has a 2,000 sq.ft. building and a 5,000 sq.ft. building.
    2. The property has a 2,000 sq ft bullding and a 5,000 sq ft building. (APA style)

    I’ll appreciate your help. Thank you!

    • Jane says:

      Our Rule 4 of Hyphens says, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.” In your sentence, the measurement is a compound adjective describing the noun building. You may want to avoid using abbreviations in formal writing.

      The property has a 2,000-square-foot building and a 5,000-square-foot building.

      If you must use abbreviations, use periods with abbreviations that end in a lowercase letter.

  26. Gabby says:

    Hi Jane,

    I am always tempted to hyphenate things like “strongly worded”… why is this grammatically incorrect?

    Thanks!

  27. ArangoA says:

    If I’m using Hyphens with numbers, but in a “non-traditional” way, I don’t know which rule to follow.
    Example: …comparing 30 to 90-day mortality…
    Should I also hyphenate after 30? It would be:…comparing 30- to 90-day mortality…
    Thank you!

    • Jane says:

      This is known as a suspensive hyphen or suspended hyphen. It is used when hyphenated words occur in sets of two or more and the first or second part of the compound is only used once. Therefore, use a hyphen after 30.
      comparing 30- to 90-day mortality…

  28. Sheri says:

    Would you stay consistent throughout the paragraph for the category (measurements) or transition back to written numbers in the last sentence?

    The new 6-foot 3-inch tall, 342-inch-diameter tank will be located 7 feet in front of an existing tank. A 12-foot-tall, 13-foot-wide by 25-foot-long wall will be installed to meet the two-hour fire resistance requirement. The wall is required to be one foot from the tank and five feet from existing walls.

    • Jane says:

      Deciding whether to write numbers as numerals or as number words is a matter of style. We recommend using a consistent style throughout your writing.

  29. Marvelyn says:

    I am editing a book for someone and have a couple of questions.
    1. As a young Christian it surprised me that I did not meet other evangelical believers during that six week trip. (SHOULD SIX WEEKS BE HYPHENATED?)

    2. This had been my third large Summer of Service in four years’ time. (SHOLD FOUR YEARS’ BE HYPHENATED?)

    3. Also, we were about to start a yearlong music team with eight people, which Rolf would lead and I would participate in. (SHOULD YEARLONG BE 1 WORD OR 2? IF 2, SHOULD IT BE HYPHENATED?)

    • Jane says:

      Our blog Numbers as Adjectives says, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea. This rule can also be applied when a number and a measurement unit taken together form an adjective, that is, when they describe another object.” We also would point out that the sentence begins with a dangler. Therefore, write “As a young Christian, I was surprised that I did not meet other evangelical believers during that six-week trip.”

      In your second sentence, the word time is unnecessary and so is the apostrophe after the word years. No hyphen should be used. If Summer of Service is the formal title of a program, it may be capitalized. If not, it should be lowercased. Write “This had been my third large Summer of Service in four years.”

      The word yearlong is one word, however your final sentence could be rewritten as follows: “Also, we were about to start a yearlong music team, in which Rolf would lead and I would participate, along with six other people.”

  30. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much for this post.

    I need to specify that a drug in a study was administered three times a week instead of the usual daily administration. Is the following correct?

    “Drug X three-times weekly demonstrated a 20% reduction in…”

  31. Peggy says:

    Hi Jane,

    Can you confirm that this construction would not get a hyphen (because “three quarters” is not a compound modifier in this case)?
    “…more than three quarters of our staff…”

    • Jane says:

      The Chicago Manual of Style’s rule (9.14) says, “Simple fractions are spelled out. For the sake of readability and to lend an appearance of consistency, they are hyphenated in noun, adjective, and adverb forms…”

      “…more than three-quarters of our staff…”

  32. Beth Haden says:

    I’m proofreading an art book, and there are many references to photos’ measurements, e.g., “8 by 10-inch” or “3 by 5-inch.” Am I right to insert a hyphen after the 8 or the 3? Thanks!

    • Jane says:

      If the measurement is an adjective phrase in front of a noun, the entire adjective phrase should have hyphens.

      8-by-10-inch photo
      3-by-5-inch photo

      Do not use hyphens if the measurement is written “The photo pictured is 8 by 10 inches.”

  33. Marvelyn says:

    thank you for your help. I truly appreciate it.

  34. Maria says:

    Should I use a dash, not a hyphen, between centuries and decades, for example, “in the 16th–17th centuries” and “the 1920s–30s”? Or is the n dash used between numbers only (without -th or -s etc.)? Thanks!

    • Jane says:

      The en dash is used by many for periods of time when you might otherwise use to. Others use hyphens. Below are various methods for conveying time spans.

      16th–17th centuries
      16th-17th centuries
      1920s–1930s
      1920s–’30s
      1920s-30s

  35. C says:

    I’m trying to get the gist of this through examples. Is this correct?

    The ocean was one thousand feet deep.
    The one-thousand-foot-deep ocean was cold.
    The man was six feet tall.
    The six-foot-tall man was two hundred pounds.
    The two-hundred-pound, six-foot-tall man was scary.
    The car was was four feet wide.
    The four-foot-wide car was rusty.

  36. Josie says:

    What is the correct way to express the following:

    I have to work two, eight hour shifts this week? Is it correct to place a comma after two?

  37. Jaynie says:

    Hi Jane – is this correct usage of hyphens:
    The entire complex was surrounded by a 30-foot high brick wall.

    Or should it be a 30-foot-high brick wall?
    Thanks so much!

  38. Sonya says:

    Hi Jane,

    In deposition transcripts, people often omit the word “hundred” or “thousand” after the first number said, and I’m unsure of how to write that sentence.

    “I have between 5 and 15,000.”

    A better way to say it would be “I have between 5,000 and 15,000,” but of course in a deposition, I can’t add the “thousand” after the 5 since it has to be verbatim. I’d rather not write the numbers all out because then it makes it difficult for attorneys to search for specific numbers within a transcript, and it also would not be consistent with the rest of the transcript. Would it be acceptable to write “I have between 5- and 15,000″?

    Thanks for your help!

    • Jane says:

      This appears to be a good opportunity to use brackets. Brackets are often used within quoted passages to indicate material added by someone else. You could type “I have between five [thousand] and fifteen thousand …” It seems like attorneys should be able to search for written out numbers as well as numerals, but you could probably also write “I have between [5,000] and 15,000 … “

  39. Tyler says:

    Hi Jane. I’m trying to write the following sentence:

    Out back there is a twenty-by-forty foot Martinique-style swimming pool and a 500-square-foot pool house.

    This is for a novel, and I assume it is more appropriate to write the numbers out rather than using numerals. Is that correct in both cases in this sentence? If so, how do I use hyphens when both of them are written out?

    Thanks so much for your help! This is an excellent website.

    • Jane says:

      Spelling out numbers vs. using figures is largely a matter of writers’ preference. Consistency is the key. Don’t forget the hyphen between “forty” and “foot.”
      Out back there is a twenty-by-forty-foot Martinique-style swimming pool and a five-hundred-square-foot pool house. OR
      Out back there is a 20-by-40-foot Martinique-style swimming pool and a 500-square-foot pool house.

  40. Ethan says:

    I’m accustomed to hyphenating as follows:
    You son is growing up! Yes, he’s a four-year-old.
    But from what I gather from the above rule, four-year-old is considered a noun and therefore is not hyphenated. Which is correct?
    Thank you so much.

    • Jane says:

      The term four-year-old describes the implied noun boy or child in your sentence. Therefore, hyphens are required.
      Yes, he’s a four-year-old (boy/child).

  41. wendy says:

    I am translating some literature for a trailer manufacturer
    and they talk about 2 or 3 axle trailers
    do I write
    2 or 3-axle trailer
    2- or 3-axle trailer
    2 or 3 axle trailer

    or what about a 3 metre trailer
    3-metre trailer?

    50-millimetre-thick softwood – no hyphens?

    I was under the impression the English language was using less hyphens, yet these rules seem to imply more?
    Thanks for your comments

    • Jane says:

      In your examples, the measurements are compound adjectives describing nouns. Hyphens are required.
      2- or 3-axle trailer
      3-metre trailer or 3-meter trailer (American English)
      50-millimetre-thick softwood or 50-millimeter-thick softwood (American English)

  42. Rebecca says:

    What about these two sentences:

    The candidates completed a one hour written test.
    The test was followed by a one hour interview.

    Thank you!

    • Jane says:

      One-hour is used as a compound adjective in your sentences. Therefore, use a hyphen.
      The candidates completed a one-hour written test.
      The test was followed by a one-hour interview.

  43. Meg says:

    What is the correct way using the Chicago Style to write ’1,500′ in the sentence, “I spent over 1,500 hours researching material?” Should I spell it out, hyphenate, or use numerical? Thank you for your time.

    • Jane says:

      The Chicago Manual of Style’s Rule 9.2 says, “In nontechnical contexts, Chicago advises spelling out whole numbers from zero through one hundred and certain round multiples of those numbers.” In addition, their Rule 9.4 states, “Any of the whole numbers mentioned in 9.2 followed by hundred, thousand, or hundred thousand are usually spelled out (except in the sciences)—whether used exactly or as approximations.”

      I spent over fifteen hundred hours researching material.

  44. CD Demetrious says:

    Are these two correct?: 1) Twenty-plus years experience 2) Twenty-plus year professional Thank you!

    • An apostrophe is needed after years: Twenty-plus years’ experience. Twenty-plus is a compound adjective describing the noun years. (Or it could simply be written as Twenty-plus years of experience.)

      A second hyphen is required in the phrase twenty-plus-year professional since twenty-plus-year is the compound adjective describing the noun professional.

  45. enah says:

    Hi. How do you write this one.

    Is it like this: The patient has a 4- to 5-month history of pain.

    or The patient has a 4 to 5-month history of pain.

    and what is the general rule for that.

    Thank you

    • The Chicago Manual of Style’s rule 7.84 says, “When the second part of a hyphenated expression is omitted, the hyphen is retained, followed by a space.” Therefore, write:
      The patient has a 4- to 5-month history of pain. OR
      The patient has a four- to five-month history of pain.

  46. John says:

    How would I write this out numerically?

    Complete this job using ten feet of one, four inch conduit?

    Specifically the “one, four-inch” part.

    At work, I keep seeing management write it out as 1-4″ conduit. That just doesn’t look right to me. To me, that reads, “one through four”. I wanted to write it like this: (1) 4″ conduit. Or: “…one, four-inch conduit.

    Thanks!!!!

    Should there be a hyphen between four-inch?

    • There should be a hyphen between four-inch or 4-inch and no comma after one.
      Complete this job using ten feet of one four-inch conduit.
      OR
      Complete this job using one 10-foot length of 4-inch conduit.

  47. Nancy Adams says:

    I’m editing a ms, and can’t find the rule in the Chicago Manual.

    “He was about five-eight.”

    Is the hyphen here correct? According to Chicago, if I included “foot,” it be open: “He was five foot eight,” but I can see the logic of including the hyphen in a sentence without the unit of measurement.

    Thanks!

  48. Frank Sellers says:

    What about a range before a noun?

    Is it:

    “The car is 10 to 15 feet away.”

    or:

    “The car is 10-to-15 feet away.”

    ???

    Thanks!

  49. TJ says:

    Hi Jane,
    If there are multiple adjectives. Writing a recipe. “1/4-inch-thick patties”?

  50. Tawna Petersen says:

    How would this be hyphenated?

    Five- to six-year-olds will have a lot of questions. Or should I put five- to six-year-old students?

    Thanks!

  51. CX says:

    Ok, in a document that requires that numbers be written both numerically and spelled out, how should the phrase be constructed?

    Instead of ‘six-foot fence’, I need to also insert ‘(6)’.

    six (6)-foot fence
    six-foot (6) fence
    six(6)-foot fence

  52. Debby says:

    Why can’t I ever decide if these need hyphens?

    Q. 4 1/2 feet is — the front face of the drawer was 4 1/2 feet wide?
    A. Yes.
    Q. And then it was 3 feet deep, meaning the drawer would go back into the cabinet 3 feet approximately?
    —-
    Q. How big was the drawer?
    A. I’d estimate probably 4 1/2 feet long and probably 3 feet wide.
    Q. How tall?
    A. Probably 14 inches tall.
    Thanks for your wisdom!

    • There are no compound adjectives in your sentences, therefore no hyphens are required. Note the difference between these two sentences:

      The drawer is 14 inches tall.
      It is a 14-inch-tall drawer.

  53. Andrea says:

    I’m working on a settlement agreement for a temporary easement and am trying to word the following agreement terms correctly. I’m having the most trouble with the tree stump language, as there are 4 tree stumps, but 2 of them have the same approximate diameter and if I say that there are 4, where/how would I reword that correctly?:

    “In addition, Grantee agrees, at the time of construction, to the following:

    To fill an approximately 8-by-6-foot-wide and 3.5-foot-deep hole created by Grantor to locate existing underground utilities; to do a one-time clearing of existing overgrown vegetation near said utility-locate hole, but not to clear any future overgrown vegetation during the term of this Temporary Construction Easement unless, in Grantee’s sole determination, such material restricts safe passage through the easement; and to grind an 18-inch, two 24-inch, and a 36-inch approximate diameter tree stump.”

    • The meaning of the paragraph seems clear to us. However, legal documents often have their own sets of rules. We recommend consulting either The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, published by the Harvard Law Review Association or the ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation, prepared and published by the Association of Legal Writing Directors and Darby Dickerson.

  54. Linda Cauble says:

    how do I hyphenate 11 year 2 month payoff

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