with Compound Modifiers
join words together. Use them to form a single idea from two
or more words.
For my money,
the AP Stylebook has a clearer explanation in its
"Punctuation" section than Working With Words. If confused,
some guidelines to common problem areas:
two (or more) words are used to modify a single noun and come
before that noun in the sentence, you hyphenate them.
Examples: the family-owned business; the out-of-state
student; the pueblo-style building
("a," "an" and "the") generally are not hyphenated unless they're
in the middle of a phrase.
No: A-first-rate movie
Yes: A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
the modifying words come AFTER the noun in the sentence, you usually
don't hyphenate them.
Example: The student, who lives out of state,
this rule has at least two exceptions.
adjectives beginning with "well" are hyphenated no matter
where they are in the sentence.
Example: The dog, which seemed well-behaved,
When a modifier that would be hyphenated before a noun comes
after a form of the verb "to be," you usually keep the
hyphen to avoid confusion.
Example: The business was family-owned.
not hyphenate adverbs that end in "-ly." (So you need
to recognize whether the "-ly" word is an adverb. These
words generally are NOT adverbs: family, friendly, manly, timely.)
Examples: an easily remembered rule;
a friendly-looking wildebeest
two normally hyphenated modifiers apply to the same word but
are separated by a conjunction or a preposition, you probably
have encountered the much-feared SUSPENSIVE HYPHENATION monster.
The modifier closest to the noun is hyphenated normally.
The other part of the modifier gets a dangling hyphen, so the
see the connection.
The connecting words (for instance, "and" or "to")
are not hyphenated.
3- and 4-year-olds; a 10- to 15-year sentence; energy- and cost-efficient