A hyphen is a punctuation mark in the form of a dash. It is used to join two or more words to form compound words, most common of which are compound nouns.
Hyphen forming compound words.
- Many tourists visit the open-air market at the weekends.
- At least a thousand people attended the political fund-raising dinner.
- There is a fast-flowing stream in the valley below.
Hyphen are often used in fractions and compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine.
- Rent costs almost two-thirds of his paycheck.
- She once drove in the opposite direction in a one-way street.
- A four-lane highway is built to connect the two cities.
- Construction of a twenty-storey building is underway in the city centre.
Hyphens are used to separate prefixes from words
- She is still trying to get back all the money she lent to her ex-husband.
- Scores of anti-war protesters gathered to disrupt his speech.
- Can I write you a post-dated cheque?
Hyphen is used for a word break at the end of a line
The newspaper reported that the town was hit by a torna-
do last evening.
Hyphens used to avoid confusion.
- The new owner has decided to re-form the club.
(Without the hyphen, the word reform would give the sentence a different meaning.)
- They are going to re-mark the papers due to the record high number of passes.
(Without the hyphen, the word remark has got a different meaning.)
A dash is double the length of a hyphen. It is sometimes used instead of a colon or a semi-colon.
- "Quick! Go now – the police are coming for you!
- Do we have all the things – the rods, plastic worms, extra hooks, net, knife, first-aid kit, and what else?
When dashes are used in a sentence, commas are not used to separate interrupting phrases.
- No: She looked at the dresses, – a few of them, – deciding on the one she should buy.
- Yes: She looked at the dresses – a few of them – deciding on the one she should buy.
A dash used to show a sudden deviation or emphasis.
- I met Tom–you know, the guy I introduced you last week–to ask if he would bowling with us this evening.
- I saw a snake – I mean a really big one – swallowing a big rodent.