Most rules about hyphenating have to do with modifying a noun (the adjective or compound adjective before the noun).
Many words we tend to hyphenate could be one closed-up word, so it is always best to check The Chicago Manual of Style Hyphenation Table::
Readability is the main purpose for using the hyphen, and hyphens are used to show structure and pronunciation, Here are a few of the rules:
- No need to hyphenate proper nouns (North America) or ly + adjective compounds before nouns.
Example: That is a wonderfully groomed dragon you have there.
- When adjective compounds come after the noun, hyphenation is usually unnecessary.
Example: The blue-eyed dragon becomes: The dragon is blue eyed.
- And even for compounds that are hyphenated in the dictionary, such as: ill-humored and well-read---they don’t need to be hyphenated after the noun.
Example: That dragon was certainly ill humored.
- Participle (a verbal that functions as an adjective) constructions are hyphenated before but not after the noun.
Example:: the fire-breathing methods becomes: the methods of fire breathing..
But, age terms should be hyphenated in both noun and adjective forms, except in the last two examples.
The three-year-old dragon
A ninety-nine-year-old dragon king
The dragon king's subjects of seven-year-olds
The dragon prince was nine years old
When he was nine years of age
So, now that we know some of the meddlesome hyphenation rules, lets have a care-free writing session or, a writing session that is care free.
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|Illustration by Samantha Kickingbird|
copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2013