1) Consult the dictionary to determine how to treat a compound word. Sometimes a compound word has a hyphen, like water-repellant, but other times the compound word is one word, like waterproof. If the compound word isn’t in the dictionary, then treat it like two words.

2) Use a hyphen to connect two or more words functioning together as a single adjective before a noun.

Mrs. Douglas gave Toshiko a seashell and some newspaper-wrapped fish to take home to her mother.

Richa Gupta is not yet a well-known candidate.

*No hyphen is needed when the compound word comes after the noun it’s modifying.

After our television campaign, Richa Gupta will be well known.

* Do not use a hyphen to connect -ly adverbs to the words they modify.



A slowly moving truck tied up traffic

A slowly-moving truck tied up traffic


3) Hyphenate the written form of fractions and compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine.

4) Use a hypehn with the prefixes all-, ex-, and self- and with the suffix -elect.

The charity is funneling more money into self-help projects,

Anne King is our club’s president-elect.