Last week we talked about prefixes that don’t require hyphenating such as inpatient and disorder. Find that here.
This week we’re discussing when to use a hyphen to connect words that express one idea.
Examples: mother-in-law, first-class, happy-go-lucky
So how do you know what to hyphenate?
If the adjectives act separately, you will not hyphenate. Example:
big purple dinosaur … (yes, I have children and have the same hatred toward big purple dinosaurs we all do)
Can the dinosaur be big? Yes. Can it be purple? Unfortunately yes.
Here’s another example:
It’s a one-day seminar.
Can the seminar be one? Sounds odd, right? Can it be a day seminar? Even weirder.
Moral of the story: If you read each adjective with the noun and it sounds off, hyphenate.