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Jane Straus - Hyphens with Numbers

Hyphens with Numbers

Grammar Book 

Jane Straus is the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation and developer of GrammarBook.com

Should you write 13-feet or 13 feet? Here is the rule: when you're combining two or more words to form a compound adjective in front of a noun, put hyphens between these words.

 

Examples:

Lara handed me a 15-foot pole.

An 18-inch monitor is too big for my desk.

Emergency room nurses work 12-hour shifts.

Anthony swung his five-pound hammer.

 

In the above sentences, the measurements are compound adjectives describing nouns.

 

When numbers are used as nouns, don’t use a hyphen.

 

Examples:

Suzanne won the race by a solid 15 feet.

The room was 17 feet long.

Twelve hours later, he was exhausted.

Anthony's hammer weighs five pounds.

 

Pop Quiz

 

  1. Stella had her hair cut six-inches last week. 
  2. Her party shoes had three inch heels.
  3. Can you lend me your 5-foot tape measure?
  4. I am 5-feet-2-inches in my bare feet.
  5. The water level rose 10-inches in just three hours.

 

Pop Quiz Answers

 

  1. Stella had her hair cut six inches last week. 
  2. Her party shoes had three-inch heels.
  3. Can you lend me your 5-foot tape measure? (Correct)
  4. I am 5 feet 2 inches in my bare feet.
  5. The water level rose 10 inches in just three hours.

 Jane Strauss

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