Lots of people have problems using hyphens so I thought it would be a good idea to add a few examples to this node.

Examples of usage

Some strong examples of semantic changes caused by the placement of hyphens:

  • Disease causing poor nutrition, meaning that a disease causes poor nutrition, and
  • Disease-causing poor nutrition, meaning that poor nutrition causes disease

  • Man-eating shark, meaning a dangerous animal, and
  • Man eating shark, which reverses the relationship between the two

  • New age-discrimination rules, meaning new rules regarding discrimination according to age, and
  • New-age discrimination rules, meaning rules regarding discrimination (not necessarily according to age) consistent with the New Age movement

    Additional examples of proper use:

    text-only document (but ... document is text only)
    Detroit-based organization (but ... organization is Detroit based)
    state-of-the-art product (but ... product is state of the art)
    board-certified strategy (but ... strategy is board certified)
    thought-provoking argument (but ... argument is thought provoking)
    time-sensitive error (but ... error is time sensitive)
    case-sensitive password (but ... password is case sensitive)
    government-issued photo ID (but ... photo ID is government issued, or, better, ... is issued by the government)
    light-gathering surface (but ... surface is light gathering)
    award-winning novel (but ... novel is award winning, or, more likely, ... won an award)
    web-based encyclopedia (but ... encyclopedia is web based)
    fun-loving person (but ... person is fun loving)
    how to wire-transfer funds
    how to tax-plan
    advertising-supported service (but ... service is advertising supported, or, better, ... is supported by advertising)