The Most Common Hyphen Mistakes
A hyphen is probably the least popular punctuation mark. But you can’t get rid of it completely in your essay writing. There are still some phrases that cannot exist without a hyphen. Ideally, you should check out the most common mistakes associated with the hyphen use. This way, you will manage to avoid them in the future.
Using a dash instead of a hyphen
A dash ( — ) is a punctuation mark that aims to signify a meaningful pause in text or abrupt change in idea. Meanwhile, a hyphen ( - ) is a short line that puts several words together. Are you facing a dilemma of choosing between a dash and a hyphen? If you are dealing with two or words that need to be connected, your choice will be obvious.
|Dash ( — )||Hyphen ( - )|
|All people want peace — or so they say.||Mary gave a good-night kiss to her son.|
Omitting hyphens in phrasal adjectives
Some phrasal adjectives stand without hyphenation, although they are located before a noun. But when two words are sued together to describe a noun, they need a hyphen to be put between them. If you can’t find them in your spellchecker or dictionary, add a hyphen anyway.
|The team of developers has come up with a pay-as-you-go plan.|
Using hyphens as commas
All punctuation marks have their specific functions. Don’t try to put all of them into a single basket. They are not interchangeable. So, using a hyphen instead of a comma is not a good idea at all.
|Marie–who is a very smart girl–has failed her final exam.||Marie, who is a very smart girl, has failed her final exam.|
Using hyphens with the word “very” and adverbs ending in -ly
Hyphens are used as glue for creating compound words. But some words are not meant to be connected. This is especially the case with the -ly and “very” words.
|They are a newly-married couple.||They are a newly married couple.|
|Have you heard her very-specific comment?||Have you heard her very specific comment?|