Winter Shoes Classical Boots Block TAOFFEN Short Heels Women Black 0qZ5I Winter Shoes Classical Boots Block TAOFFEN Short Heels Women Black 0qZ5I Winter Shoes Classical Boots Block TAOFFEN Short Heels Women Black 0qZ5I

Winter Shoes Classical Boots Block TAOFFEN Short Heels Women Black 0qZ5I

Hyphens, Fractions, Numbers

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Aug 14, 2012 5:30:00 AM

Sometimes confused about how and when to use a hyphen when writing out numbers, either whole numbers or fractions? Be confused no more after you read today's post.

Hyphens and Spelled-out Fractions

Fractions should always be hyphenated when they are adjectives or adverbs, as in They got a one-third share and The money is three-quarters gone. Opinions differ on whether they should be hyphenated when they are nouns, as in They got one-third of the money. By standard rules of hyphenation, there is no reason to hyphenate them; they are merely noun compounds formed of adjective + noun.

However, the hyphen is "heard" -- we do not pronounce the elements of such compounds as distinct words but slur them together--and omission of the hyphen could conceivably mislead: I used to save all of my change in a bucket, but I've spent three quarters of it. We suggest hyphenating fractions routinely. One can think of the hyphen as representing the division bar in a fraction in figures.

The horse rounded the track five and three-quarters times. Adjectival compounds of a whole number and a fraction are not hyphenated throughout unless they are complicated by another word, as in The horse fell at the one-and-one-quarter-mile mark.

Hyphens with phrases containing numbers

Phrases containing numbers follow a few special hyphenation conventions.

Exceptions from standard rules

Five hundred men modifies men with the adjective + noun compound five hundred, and normally such a compound would be hyphenated. But unless the number compound is complicated by another word or phrase, as in later examples, spelled-out numbers do not follow standard hyphenation rules when they modify a noun, no matter how many words it takes to spell them out: five hundred and thirty-six men.

Ten-dollar loss and two-hundred-million-dollar loss follow standard rules; the spelled-out numbers are like any other words used in compounds. When figures are used, one often sees a hyphen where there is no justification for it: $10-loss. This is as incorrect as ten-dollar-loss.

But there is one exception to the standard rules.

When a large round sum of money preceded by the dollar sign (or a foreign sign or abbreviation such as £ or DM) is partly in figures and partly spelled out, as in $200 million, it conventionally does not get a hyphen as an adjective: Shoes Boots Winter Short TAOFFEN Women Heels Classical Block Black $200 million loss. One does see the hyphen occasionally, and though it can't be called wrong, since it is there if the number is entirely spelled out, it is troublesome; perhaps the eye is somehow aware that there are invisible hyphens with the adjectival elements represented by $200 and wants all the hyphens in the compound to be invisible. Hyphens are used, and required by the eye, if such a compound is combined with another word or phrase that needs hyphenation: $200-million-plus loss, $200-million-per-quarter loss.

Similarly, adjectival compounds of figures + percent are conventionally not hyphenated unless they are part of larger compounds: 23 percent increase, 23-percent-a-year increase. This holds even when there is no invisible hyphen in the figure and our speculation about the consistency-loving eye breaks down, as in 10 percent increase.

Other adjectival compounds of figures and a word should follow the standard rules for hyphenation: 30-minute wait, 16-inch gun, 125-acre farm, and so on.

 

 

 

Topics: hyphenation, numbers, fractions

Subscribe to Email Updates

Sign up for our emails!

Search Our Blog

Custom Search
Web
 
 
 

Posts by Topic

see all
PU Wedge Leather 5 Black B Toe Patent High US M WeiPoot Girls Heel Closed Pumps Round Solid qxSz8YH