What is a Hyphen – All you Need to Know About Hyphen Punctuation. 

The hyphen – is a common punctuation mark used to link words and separate syllables within a single word. Some people mistake the hyphen symbol for the dash sign, which is incorrect. The hyphen is frequently confused with dashes, which are longer and have different functions, or with the negative sign, which is similarly long and more vertically centered in some typefaces. The term is extrapolated from the Ancient Greek (huph’ hén), which is a contraction of (hypó hén), which means “in one” (literally “under one”). Some people refer to hyphen as the minus sign which is mathematically correct but wrong when it comes to grammar.

Hyphens are most commonly employed to divide single words into sections or connect distinct words into one word. Except when it is used as a suspended or “hanging” hyphen to represent a repeating word, no spaces are added between a hyphen and either of the parts it joins (e.g., Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century explorers).

The use of hyphens is steadily declining, and the hyphens were deleted from 16,000 words in the 6th edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary in 2007. (e.g., earlier pigeon-hole now written as pigeonhole).

What’s the Difference Between Hyphen Sign (-) and Dash Sign(–)?

A hyphen is normally used to connect words or sections of words (e.g., Mother-in-law). It cannot be used in place of other types of dashes. A dash is always longer than a hyphen and is usually used to denote a range or stop. The en dash “–” and the em dash “—” are the two most prevalent types of dashes.

Hyphen "-"
Hyphen “-“

When Should You Use a Hyphen in Your Writing?

Use hyphens to link compound nouns.

Strong-arm, train-spotting, and dinner-table

Note:  Do not use hyphens with adverbs that end in “ly.

           Make sure not to use hyphens to link words that follow the noun.


When writing in a flowing text, it is sometimes desirable to split a word in two to continue another line rather than shifting the complete word to the following line.

He wants to be a football player but the represn-

tatives of the club rejected him.

When writing Prefix and Suffixes 

Prefixes (such as de-, pre-,) and suffixes (such as -less, -like, and -hood) are occasionally hyphenated, especially when the unhyphenated form is similar to another word or when the affixation is thought misinterpretable, ambiguous, or otherwise problematic “strange-looking.”

You can use a hyphen for a two-word number under one hundred.

Seventy-five and sixty-four

When writing fractions, use hyphens.

He got a two-third share, and The vegetable stock is three-quarters gone.

You can use hyphens if there is a chance a word could be misread


In modifying phrases, hyphens are typically employed to connect numbers and words.

a 37-year-old male

Useful in object–verbal–noun compounds.

The result is occasionally hyphenated when an object is combined with a verbal noun, as takeoff. Some authors do this regularly. Take-off, takeoff, and take off are all popular expressions.

Using in Names

Andre De-Alwis

Different Type of Hyphen Punctuations

– Standard English hyphen

 ‑ Non breaking hyphen

᠆  Mongolian soft hyphen

・ Katakana hyphen

᐀ Canadian syllabics hyphen

 𐺭 Yezidi hyphen

 ־ Hebrew hyphen

⸗ Double oblique hyphen

֊ Armenian hyphen

U+2010 Common hyphen Unicode





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