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The hyphen is used to link the parts of some compound words. It also links the parts of a word begun on one line and finished on the next. Consult a dictionary if you are unsure about how to hyphenate any given word. 1. Use a hyphen to link the parts of compound nouns that begin with the prefixes “ex-,” “self-,” “great-” or that end with the suffix “–elect.”
ex-partner self-esteem president-elect
2. Use a hyphen to link the parts of compound nouns that include a prepositional phrase.
son-in-law man-of-war jack-in-the-box
3. Use a hyphen to link prefixes with proper nouns or adjectives.
NOTE: Many compound words are not hyphenated. Some are two separate words (tennis court), but some are written as a single word (basketball).
4. Use a hyphen to link the parts of a compound adjective when it precedes the noun.
coal-mining equipment grease-stained jeans
NOTE: Do not use a hyphen if the adjective follows the noun or if the first modifier is an adverb ending in -ly (quickly heated soup).
5. Use a hyphen to link parts of a fraction used as an adjective. two-thirds empty one-half finished
NOTE: Omit the hyphen if the fraction is used as a noun.
One half of the bus was empty.
6. Use a hyphen to link the parts of a compound number between twenty-one and ninetynine.
forty-five seats thirty-four years
7. Use a hyphen when a word is divided at the end of a line. Place a hyphen between syllables only. Do not hyphenate a word if doing so would leave just one letter on either line. If a word already contains a hyphen, divide it only at the hyphen.
Today many people are still interested in the trapper's independent life style. Everyone seems to be interested in electronic gadgetry and stateof-the-art computers.
lives an old man with his twenty-seven cats. for. For the best results. was cheering after the scoring drive despite the flag on the field. above all. and the rousing music. re-cover (as opposed to recover) de-escalate COMMAS Use commas: 1. and cold . To separate an interruption from the rest of a sentence. furious.) b. the driving was fast. Before the coordinating conjunctions and. EXAMPLES: In a little cabin at the edge of the woods across the river. eggs. so. I admire her courage in the face of adversity. many times. EXAMPLES: The crowd. the spirited songs. 3. and butter. yet all was forgiven with a glimpse of the mountains. or. but. you might tend to read this sentence. Marcie was surprised at how poorly prepared she was for her new position. 2. (After the succession of four introductory prepositional phrases. NOTE: If items in a series already contain commas. so John answered it even though he was at Tiffany's house. Considering how much she has already learned. nor to join independent clauses. m-e-e-t is not the same as m-e-a-t 9. Use commas after long introductory prepositional phrases. be aware of your professor's preference and." which would be very confusing. NOTE: There is no hard and fast rule regarding the comma before the "and" in a series. Use commas after introductory clauses unless they are quite short or have no special emphasis. To mark the end of a long (four or more words) introductory element. EXAMPLE: The winter weather in Seattle was rainy. a. EXAMPLES: The alumni's spirit was evident in the loud cheers . To mark the breaks between items in a series. (A short prepositional phrase needs no comma after it. the piano was rolled offstage. be sure to include flour. be consistent in your use. however. . 4.) Whenever I see her. yet.8.. Use hyphens to distinguish between two words that are spelled similarly and might be confused. Use a hyphen to further clarity and readability. EXAMPLES: After Sue had finished playing. then use semicolons to separate the main elements.. Some prefer to omit the comma. a comma is needed to separate them from the rest of the sentence. The telephone rang many. windy. "After Sue had finished playing the piano. Others feel that using the comma makes the reading clearer. nor do any agree to the bankruptcy proceedings arranged by the attorney. (Note that without the comma.) In the morning I will call my boss. In any case. and courteous. EXAMPLES: None of the partners wants to dissolve their assets . but usually not after short phrases.
2004. The menu included brisket. will be our guest this weekend. was enough to bring the children home early. To set off an appositive (a group of words renaming the subject). Janet was glad she had taken her umbrella with her to the concert. garden. potato. The thunderstorm began just as the audience was leaving. 604. 6. Note that a comma follows the conjunction. The thunderstorm began just as the audience was leaving. whose son attends the University. 1. in the middle of a heat wave. consequently. Johnson. and fruit salads. cherry cobbler. Use a semicolon to join two related complete thoughts (sentences/independent clauses) without using a conjunction.The winter's chill. To set off non-restrictive clauses (a group of words that are not essential to the meaning of the sentence). SEMICOLONS Knowing when to use semicolons is easier if you follow a few simple rules. Apt. and banana pudding for dessert." Jonathan thought after hearing the proposal. Hoffer. 8. To separate quoted words from the rest of a sentence. 5. Use a semicolon to join two related complete thoughts when using conjunctive adverbs (sometimes thought of as transitional words or phrases). Austin. whose family lives in Germany. for the rest of the semester. a computer security specialist. He was born on June 26. 7. 3. chicken. Mr. To separate items in an address or date. EXAMPLE: "The whole idea is ludicrous. Janet was glad she had taken her umbrella with her to the concert. is our friend. completed her third 100-mile cycling event in a month. and pork barbeque. EXAMPLES: Mr. APOSTROPHES . EXAMPLES: Her address is 1916 First Avenue North. 2. despite the shining sun. apple pie. Texas. EXAMPLE: Jen. Use semicolons to separate items in parts of a series that already contain commas.
Mary's singing irritated Tom. Nouns or pronouns which modify gerunds are usually possessive. The Aguilars (or Smiths or Joneses) live there. Season's Greetings. Awkward: The chair's back was broken. singular: man's role plural: men's role John's party children's playground 2. the apostrophe (') plus s forms the possessive singular of all nouns and the possessive plural of all nouns not ending in s. Improved: The back of the chair was broken. dogs' fur boys' pants Aguilars' house* Joneses' cars *NOTE: If an “s” is added to a surname to refer to the whole family's belongings or as a greeting card signature. everyone's success one's leg somebody's house anybody's home NOTE: a. Awkward: conscience's sake Improved: conscience' sake Awkward: Claudins's feast Improved: Claudins' feast CONTRACTIONS: Contractions are two words condensed into one by replacing a letter or group of letters with an apostrophe.) I am it is will not should have you are they are I'm it's won't should've you're they're you are he is they have there is we were who is you're he's they've there's we're who's . in formal/academic writing contractions should not be used. avoid unpronounceable duplication of sound. Use the -s possessive with nouns referring to persons and living things. (Remember.. c. When forming the possessive. John's laughter attracted attention. do not include an apostrophe: ex. use the apostrophe plus s. Use an "of" phrase for the possessive of nouns referring to inanimate objects. To form the possessive singular of indefinite pronouns. b. POSSESSIVES (indicating ownership): 1. Use the apostrophe alone to form the plural nouns ending in s. The Highsmiths 3.An apostrophe is primarily used as part of a word with the letter s to show possession or to indicate that letters in a contraction have been omitted. In English.
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