More on Hyphens

Remember that hyphenating words in front of a noun is done to indicate those words form a unit.

…long-range plans…
…old-fashioned ideas…
…five-month-old baby…

When the words are already considered to be a unit, no hyphen is required. This occurs with multiple-word compound nouns.

…real estate transaction…
…social security payments…
…high school diploma…

One trick for hyphens is to test whether the first adjective modifies the combination of the second adjective and the noun. If so, there is no hyphen.

…sunny breakfast room…

First, it is a room; then it is a breakfast room; then it is a breakfast room that is sunny. This equals NO hyphen.

…large green bug…

First, it is a bug; then it is a green bug; then it is a green bug that is large. This equals NO hyphen.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

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