How to Use the Hyphen Correctly

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Knowing how to use punctuation marks correctly is important in any type of writing.  As many of you know, it takes years of practice to apply punctuation rules like an expert.  Recently, the proper use of a hyphen sparked my curiosity, and even though I’ve been using hyphens for years, I decided it was time to revisit the rules for using that “little line.” 

A hyphen is a punctuation mark (-) that is used to form some compound words and adjectives. It is also used to connect the syllables of a word that has been divided at the end of a line. The rules for using a hyphen are straightforward, but a writer can choose to add them for clarity if necessary.  Let’s take a look at the rules!

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Whether you’ve tried to use a hyphen in your writing or completely avoided them like so many do, now that you know the rules, you can try adding them once in a while.  The use of hyphens can add voice and personality to your writing! So, go have some fun experimenting with hyphens! 


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Kimberly Crady

Kimberly Crady is an adventurous woman with an immense love for life, learning, and teaching. After teaching in upper elementary classrooms for nearly 10 years, she joined the Shurley Team in 2005.  Kimberly has had the unique experience of teaching Shurley English lessons in all levels, Kindergarten-8th grade and training teachers across the United States.  Kimberly is a National Consultant and SEDA Teacher for Shurley Instructional Materials.


Kimberly’s passion for helping people and living a healthy lifestyle has led her to continue her education in the area of Health and Wellness.  She enjoys numerous outdoor activities from hiking and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains to paddle boarding in the ocean; although, these days you can find her practicing hot yoga in a Bikram Yoga studio. She also enjoys traveling abroad, live music, reading, and spending time with her favorite mutt, Lu.  Kimberly’s experience as a Certified Health & Wellness Coach and Teen Life Coach helps support her firm belief in teaching the whole person, especially in the classroom.