Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 9 months ago

What are guidelines when to hyphen a word or not, or when to combine words, such as some one, or someone. 30 something or 30-something.?

Any basic guidelines for remembering these things?

3 Answers

  • 9 months ago

    +1 to Fin's explanation. Here's an additional set of examples that might help you understand:

    The suspect is a 30-year-old Caucasian male.

    The suspect is 30 years old.

    We include hyphens in such cases to avoid ambiguity. (Pay attention long enough and you will see ambiguous expressions where people have failed to use hyphens.)

    As for spaces or no spaces, unlike the above the meaning of each is different. You just have to understand what each means. It's pretty intuitive, once you've mastered a few:

    Let's meet again someday. [That is, at some unspecified point in the future.]

    Let's meet some day next month. [One specific day in the following month.]

    Some things are better left alone. [There are specific things that I feel should be left alone.]

    Something fell on my roof last night. [I don't know what fell on my roof.]

    "Some one" is extremely rare; you could go through your entire life and never see it used (at least, not correctly). But it is theoretically possible:

    Some one at the office ate my pudding. [That is, I know it is one specific person but don't know which one.]

    Someone at the office ate my pudding. [That is, it was eaten by one or more people, but I don't know who.]

    See how close they are in meaning? The latter is much more natural in almost all contexts, which is why you see it almost exclusively.


    I see him every day.

    This is my everyday shampoo.

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  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    you hyphenate when it's one word, and use a space when it's two

    no country is over populated but some countries are overpopulated

    there's no such thing as a sex partner

    nobody races mix

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  • 9 months ago

    Usually hyphenate two or more words (when they're acting as adjectives) when they precede a noun they're modifying and act as a single idea.

    e.g. The team had victories in back-to-back weeks.

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