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