- Noun-Noun Compound: Examples include: baby-sitter, water-bottle, and week-end (note: people are using hyphens less frequently, especially in compound nouns. You might see these words appear with no hyphen, or with no separation at all).
- Compound nouns with prepositions or adverbs: Examples include: mother-in-law and out-patient.
- Prefixes: Examples include: anti- (anti-war), ex- (ex-boyfriend), pre- (pre-existing), post- (post-production)
- Numbers: Examples include: thirty-three, two-thirds
- Spelling out a word for clarification - Example is: I think we should eat some C-A-K-E.
- Compounds acting as a single adjective (before nouns): Examples include: well-known actor, sound-dried tomatoes, green-eyed girl, and run-on sentence.
Can you use the word AND between the words? If it using AND doesn't make sense, it's safe to use a hyphen.
Example: I ate the shiny red apple. (I did not use a hyphen because the apple is both shiny and red.)
Example: I attended a follow-up meeting. (I used a hyphen because 'follow-up' acts as a single adjective. It would not make sense to say: I attended the follow and up meeting.)
For more information on the Hyphen, please refer to a previous post - Hyphens and Adjectives
Dash – There are two kinds of dashes. Both are used to replace commas, colons, and semi-colons in order to add emphasis or create the effect of a break in thought. Unlike the effect of parentheses, which behaves like a quiet whisper or an aside, the dash creates a more abrupt interruption with dramatic effect.
- The em dash get its name from being the longest line punctuating words and numbers. It also is about the length of the letter 'm'. On your computer, you can achieve the em dash using the following key combination: ALT+051. Note: I fine that the em dash looks a tad obnoxious. I now only ever use the en dash.
- The en dash gets its name from being about the length of the letter 'n'. On your computer, you can achieve the en dash by using the following key combination: ALT+0150. In addition to adding emphasis, it also acts as an alternative to adding another comma when there are already too many. In the following example, it can set off a list. Example: My three favourite stores – Mexx, Banana Republic, and RW&Co – are stores that create great lines at affordable prices.