Name: ___________________


kwizNET Subscribers, please login to turn off the Ads!
Email us to get an instant 20% discount on highly effective K-12 Math & English kwizNET Programs!

Grammar, Punctuation, and Style
2.11 Punctuation - Hyphen (-), Dash (—)


A hyphen is used to divide or join words. Hyphens are also used to create new words.

To divide a word at the end of a line:
In the days of typewriters, hyphen was used to divide a word when one ran out of room at the end of a line. During the age of computer word processing, manually dividing a word at the end of a line is no longer needed. However, if you must divide a word at the end of a line, the word may be divided only between syllables. Never divide one-syllable words and contractions such as haven't, shouldn't.

In compound words:
A hyphen is used to make some compound words.
Example: Matt was not well-known, even though he climbed Mt. Everest.

In fractions:
A hyphen is used between the numbers in a fraction.
Example: Jake ate three-quarters of a large pizza!

To form an adjective:
The hyphen is used to join two or more words which work together to form a single adjective before a noun.
The nine-year-old boy was injured.
The injured woman is thirty-five years old.

To create new words:
A hyphen is used to form new words beginning with the prefixes self, ex, great, all, and half. A hyphen is also used with suffixes such as free and elect.
Examples: great-grandfather, half-baked, all-purpose, self-esteem, sugar-free, president-elect


A dash (—) is used to emphasis what follows. Dashes should be used sparingly — no more than one or two per paragraph.

  • Use a dash to change topic or structure
    Example: This is very important — are you listening to me?

  • Use a dash if the information that follows is surprising and unexpected.
    Example: We went shopping in Hollywood — and met Tom Hanks.

  • Use dashes in a dialog to show hesitation.
    Example: I—I—I don't know.

  • Use a dash to summarize or to communicate additional information.
    Example: Jack, Jill, Sally, Molly and I — we all were taken aback.

  • Use a dash to enclose emphasized additional information which interrupts the normal progression of the sentence.
    Example: He wanted us—Jill, Betsy and me—to meet his family.

Directions: Choose if the dashes/hyphens have been used correctly in the following sentences. Write your own examples for the dash and hyphen usage rules given above. As a homework, read a book and find sentences containing dashes and hyphens.

Name: ___________________


Grammar, Punctuation, and Style
2.11 Punctuation - Hyphen (-), Dash (—)

Q 1: Last Friday—no, it was the Friday before—he gave us the essay part of the exam.
dashes are correct
dashes are incorrect — should use hyphens instead

Q 2: At that moment I was interested in just one thing-namely, my lunch.
hyphen is correct
hyphen is incorrect — should use a dash instead

Question 3: This question is available to subscribers only!

Question 4: This question is available to subscribers only!

Subscription to kwizNET Learning System costs less than $1 per month & offers the following benefits:

  • Unrestricted access to grade appropriate lessons, quizzes, & printable worksheets
  • Instant scoring of online quizzes
  • Progress tracking and award certificates to keep your student motivated
  • Unlimited practice with auto-generated 'WIZ MATH' quizzes
  • Child-friendly website with no advertisements

© 2003-2007 kwizNET Learning System LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, displayed, modified or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, contact
For unlimited printable worksheets & more, go to