‐ (English name hyphen)
- Separates certain pieces of text.
- Separates syllables.
- Separates letters.
- W‐O‐R‐D spells "word"
- Splits a word across a line break (called hyphenation).
- We, therefore, the represen‐
- tatives of the United States
- Marks a point where a morpheme (a suffix, a prefix, etc.) is supposed to be attached to a word.
- Happiness ends with -ness.
- Connects certain pieces of text.
- Joins prefixes and suffixes according to stylistic rules, often to avoid confusion in pronunciation or meaning
- ultra‐ambitious (to indicate both aes are pronounced)
- I must re‐press the shirt (to avoid confusion with repress)
- Connects words in compound terms.
- Connects words in a compound modifier according to various stylistic rules.
- "real‐world examples" (but "examples are from the real world")
- Indicates common parts of repeated compounds.
- nineteenth‐ and twentieth‐century
- Connects words in some situations, akin to a space.
- Connects the year, the month and the day, in dates.
- 1789-07-14 the date of the first Bastille Day
- Indicates stuttering.
- W‐w‐would you marry me?
- Separates the components of a pun.
- This is a cat‐astrophe! (a catastrophe involving cats)
- Hides letters.
- G‐d for God
The similar-looking hyphen-minus (-) is used more frequently, but is used for many purposes (as a hyphen, minus sign, and dash). The hyphen symbol is therefore more specific.
Most text systems consider a hyphen to be a word boundary and a valid point at which to break a line when flowing text. However, this is not always desirable behavior. The non-breaking hyphen looks identical to the regular hyphen, but is not treated as a word boundary.
A soft hyphen is generally invisible text character marking a point where hyphenation can occur without forcing a line break in an inconvenient place if the text is later reflowed. See below:
In American English, compound words are formed more liberally than in British English. Hyphenated compound nouns are also much more common in colloquial American English.
- (all sense): - (hyphen-minus), often used for its ease.
- (distinguish syllables, US): · (interpunct)
- (hide letters): – (en-dash)
- (connecting compounds): – (en-dash), when the constituent parts already contain hyphens.
- Joins the components of coordinative compounds, with equal components.
- secretary-general; yellow-green; a here-today-gone-tomorrow attitude; kitchen-dinette-office
- Joins the components of subordinative compounds, with a dominant component or head.
- a has-been; cholesterol-free; short-changing