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What effect does incorrect punctuation have?

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- Hyphen

The following gives two main uses for the hyphen or dash. For a further use, see the Development Level.

To join two words

A hyphen between two words turns them into one word e.g. word-processing.

Without the hyphen, they are two separate words.

You should only do this rarely to make a new word of your own. You normally do it where it is common practice.


Many students are part-time or distance learners, in full-time employment.

Between two numbers or points in time

A hyphen between two numbers tells the reader that there is a range between them.


In the 1960s most university students were aged 18-21.

In cinemas, films usually run Thursday-Friday.

© Learning & Teaching Institute, Sheffield Hallam University 2004