The hyphen (-) is used to connect and separate words. As a connector, it joins compound words. As a separator, it marks the division of an uncompleted word at the end of a line when there is no room for all of it, so that part of the word must be carried over to the next line. Such division of words is known as syllabication because such division should only occur between syllables.

Note: Don’t use hyphen to separate parts of a monosyllabic word such as church. Other, minor uses of the hyphen include the following:

Rule 1:

The hyphen is used to break up telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, account numbers, etc.

  • 555-1212
  • 032-16-1379
  • Account No. 3060-6030-3663
Rule 2:

To form a compound from two or more other words. For example:

  • Hard-hearted
  • Mother-to-be
Rule 3:

While writing compound numbers between 21 and 99 in words. For example:

  • Seventy-five
  • Thirty-two
Rule 4:

To form a compound from a prefix and a proper name.

For example: Pro-European

Rule 5:

Sometimes in British English, to separate a prefix ending in a vowel from a word beginning with the same vowels. For example:

  • Co-operative
  • Pre-eminent
Rule 6:

After the first section of a word that is divided between one line and then next. For example:

Decide what to do in order to avoid mis-
takes of this kind in the future.
Rule 7:

If prefix ‘re’ means again, hyphen is used; in other sense not. For example:

  • recover=get back
  • re-cover=cover again
  • recount=tell a story
  • re-count=count again
  • reform=improve
  • re-form=for again
  • recall=remember
  • re-call=call again
Rule 8:

In English there are many compound and complex words where hyphen/hyphens is/are used. For example:

  • Sister-in-law
  • Self-control
  • Vice-president
  • Non-violence
  • Single-handed
  • 500-word essays
  • a heart-broken-lover
Rule 9:

After only completion of syllable, use hyphen. For example:

  • Beau-ti-ful
  • imme-di-ate

Note: if beautiful coming in last, hyphen use as follows:

Beauti-ful or beau-tiful

Don’t use hyphen with the following

  • dog, cow, bag, box, etc. being single syllable cannot be divided by hyphen. It is to be written in full.
  • In the last of a sentence leaving one letter or adding one letter, hyphen cannot be used, for example: grammar cannot be hyphenated as g-rammar or gramma-r.