Words With Hyphens
Perhaps you’d like a handy-dandy list of words with hyphens. Maybe not. Regardless, here are some AP-Style words that use the little joiner.
daughter-in-law (son-in-law, mother-in-law, etc.)
Jell-O (a trademark name)
3-D (preferred over three-D)
Be advised that there are words that take a hyphen sometimes, but not always. For example, push-up is a noun, but push up is a verb; mix-up is a noun, but mix up is a verb; and send-off is a noun, but send off is a verb.
There are also some words, like sellout (n.) and sell out (v.), set up (n.) and setup (v.), and takeout (n.) and take out (v.) that do not use a hyphen.
Plus, there’s a whole slew of words that should be joined by a hyphen to avoid ambiguity (My mom re-covered the sofa) and to modify a noun—basically, if two or more words preceding a noun are used to express a single concept, use a hyphen (Those were my first-semester grades). But guess what? The word very and adverbs ending in -ly do not take a hyphen (She is a beautifully dressed girl).
Let’s just agree that you are a superstar if you remember all rules regarding hyphens. And if you’re like me—not always certain when to use and when not to use—I suggest you reference the AP Stylebook online (membership fee required) or grab yourself a new AP Stylebook 2012, set to launch May 30. Don’t want to invest any money at all? Well, then, keep stopping by here for AP-Style briefings, and you should definitely bookmark the AP-Style default dictionary at Webster’s New World College Dictionary.