How to use the script in English (with pictures)

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How to use the script in English (with pictures)
How to use the script in English (with pictures)

Hyphens ("-") are used for a wide variety of grammar tasks other than semi-dashes ("-") and dashes ("-"). Because these three symbols differ visually only in length, they are often easily confused. However, if we remember a few simple rules, it will not be difficult to start using scripts with the confidence of an experienced editor. Check out step 1 to start fine-tuning your script usage!


Part 1 of 3: Using Scripts Correctly

Hyphenate Step 1
Hyphenate Step 1

Step 1. Use the hyphen in compound words

One of the most common and important uses of the script occurs when putting words and related concepts together, in order to form a single word and unified phrases. For example, terms like "state-of-the-art", "first-timer", and "penny-pincher" use hyphens to create a single idea from multiple words.

  • Here are some examples of hyphens correctly used in compound words:

    The singer was infamous for his over-reliance on autotune.

    That ten-year-old is remarkably mature for her age.

  • As a general rule, you should never put spaces before or after the hyphen (for example: "ten-year-old" is written, and not "ten - year - old".
Hyphenate Step 2
Hyphenate Step 2

Step 2. Use hyphens in words with certain prefixes

Most prefixed words such as "predetermined" and "evermore" do not need hyphens. However, some prefixes (such as "ex-", "self-", "all-", and sometimes "cross-") require hyphens to separate them from the word they are modifying. Note that "cross" does not need to be hyphenated in words like "crossword", since it is part of the word itself, nor in terms like "cross purpose", since it is a separate word and is not used as a prefix in these cases.

  • Here's an example of how a hyphen is used in prefixed words:

    She frequently accused her ex-boyfriend of being completely self-absorbed.

Hyphenate Step 3
Hyphenate Step 3

Step 3. Use hyphens to create original words

In the same way that they are used to join compound words, hyphens can also be used to create descriptive and original terms that might not be in the dictionary. Used in this way, hyphens allow you to create your own words from scratch. However, it is important to note that you should not rely too heavily on these hyphenated words, as they could become distracting. If you can express your ideas with one or more normal words, it is better that you do so.

  • Here is an example of how to use the hyphen in original words:

    Kim took time off from her job and became a professional couch-sitter in the days just before giving birth.

  • Here is an example of the unnecessary use of the hyphen in original words. In this case, the hyphens do not facilitate the understanding of the term.

    I couldn't decide what to get at the pizza place, so I ordered my usual three-cheese-no-meat combo.

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Hyphenate Step 4

Step 4. Use hyphens to clarify the meaning of a word

Some words are hyphenated when the lack of one does not make their meaning clear. For example, to convey the idea of a duplicate or a replica, a writer may use the word "re-creation" instead of "recreation", because the latter can also mean "fun" or "entertainment". In the same way, hyphens are also used to make compound words look more visually appealing when the last letter of your first word is the same as the first letter of your second word.

  • Here are some examples of correctly used scripts for clarity. In the first, "re-signed" has a different meaning than "resigned", and "foreign-film theater" has a less ambiguous meaning than "foreign film theater". In the second, the hyphen separates the first "e" of the second.

    Jeremy re-signed his contract, then took the train to the foreign-film theater to celebrate.

    After the convicts passed a compulsory period of good behavior, the re-education program began in earnest.

Hyphenate Step 5
Hyphenate Step 5

Step 5. Use the hyphen in two-word numbers less than one hundred

Although the rules for when to use digits and when to write them in letters may vary between different style guides, many grammar reference sources recommend using a hyphen in two-word numbers less than one hundred. In other words, use hyphens from the number twenty-one (twenty-one) to ninety-nine (ninety-nine), except for numbers like thirty (thirty), forty (fourty), fifty (fifty), etc. This also means that after one hundred, you will still use hyphens in the tens and ones places (for example, "two hundred twenty-two").

  • Here is an example of the correct use of hyphens in numbers:

    The wedding reception had eighty-eight guests, but the cooks only prepared seventy-nine entrees.

Hyphenate Step 6
Hyphenate Step 6

Step 6. Use the hyphen in the fractions

When writing fractions in words, instead of numbers, you must separate the two numbers in the fraction with a hyphen. This rule applies even for mixed fractions (fractions preceded by a whole number, such as "three and five sixths").

  • Here is an example of the correct use of hyphens in two fractions:

    The snickerdoodle recipe calls for two and two-thirds cups of flour and two and one-quarter cups of sugar.

Hyphenate Step 7
Hyphenate Step 7

Step 7. Use hyphens in compound surnames

When a person has two surnames (usually because their parents kept them after they were married), they are separated with a hyphen. In rare cases where a person has three or more last names, all of these are separated by hyphens.

  • Here is an example of the correct use of hyphens in surnames:

    When Suzie Sanders-Johnson and Tim Rodriguez-Lyle had their first child, they weren't sure what his last name would be.

Hyphenate Step 8
Hyphenate Step 8

Step 8. Use hyphens for lists of compound words with a common base

In cases where a sentence requires a list of words separated by hyphens or numbers that have a word in common, it is usually correct to write the word only after the last item in the list. For the rest of the elements, write the word or number followed by a hyphen. Separate each item with a comma, as you normally would in a list.

  • Here is an example of the correct use of hyphens in a list:

    For this construction project, we're going to need plenty of ten-, twenty-, and fifty-inch boards.

Hyphenate Step 9
Hyphenate Step 9

Step 9. In case you have any questions, find information

If at any time you are unsure of when (or when not) to use a script, consult a reference source for guidance. A wide variety of grammar fonts are available in both online and print versions, which you can locate in libraries or bookstores. Make sure you choose a professional and well-qualified referral source. It's hard to go wrong using the "big three" style guides: APA Style, MLA Style, and Chicago / Turabian Style.

Keep in mind that there may be slight differences between the style guides you consult. For example, the MLA style guide allows you to use hyphens to express ranges of numbers (for example: 350 - 400 degrees), while the Chicago style guide recommends the use of the semi-dash in these cases

Part 2 of 3: Knowing When to Avoid Scripts

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Hyphenate Step 10

Step 1. Don't use hyphens in known compound words

The use of the hyphen in some words that are technically compound and that are currently common and well known can make their meaning even less clear. For example, "lunchtime" and "roommate" do not need to be hyphenated, because the meanings of these common words are perfectly understood without the need for one. Note that, in some cases, hyphens are optional: both "high school" and "high-school" are generally considered acceptable.

  • Here's an example of compound words that don't need hyphens:

    I will read you a story at bedtime, but only if you correct the misprintsin your book report.

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Hyphenate Step 11

Step 2. Don't use hyphens in most prefixed words

As noted above, except in rare cases, most prefixed words do not need hyphens, and if unnecessary hyphens are added to them, they will appear bulky. Of the "normal" prefixes that don't need a hyphen, there are several to list; These are some: "pre-", "post-", "non", "un-", "anti-", "re", "bi-", "di-", and "de-".

  • Here is an example of words with prefixes that do not need to be hyphenated:

    The recycledpaper was strangely unaffectedby the heat of the fire.

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Hyphenate Step 12

Step 3. Don't use hyphens in verbs

When a compound word or phrase can be used as a verb or as a noun or adjective, you should not hyphenate it if it is used as a verb. For example, the term "back up" can be used as a verb and a noun, meaning "to make a copy of something to keep it safe" and "a copy of something", respectively. Thus, you could write "back up" as a verb like this: "Please back up your hard disk data", and write it as a noun like this: "He is our back-up plan if the other candidate doesn't want the job ".

  • Here is an example of a verb that does not need to be hyphenated:

    Tell the repair man to fix it.

  • However, the same phrase can be hyphenated when converted to an adjective:

    Call our usual fix-itguy, please.

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Hyphenate Step 13

Step 4. Don't use hyphens in old or out-of-date compound words

Some words, such as "today" and "tonight", were once hyphenated, in the same way as normal compound words. Generally, this is no longer done in modern writing, so you shouldn't feel the need to include these unnecessary hyphens unless you're specifically trying to mimic an old-fashioned tone or style.

  • Here is an example of words that were once hyphenated, but no longer present:

    I shall meet you tomorrowat sunupwhen the cock crows and not one moment sooner.

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Hyphenate Step 14

Step 5. Don't use hyphens after "very" or an adverb ending in "-ly"

Although hyphens are used to construct many compound words and phrases, you should not use them after adverbs that end in "-ly", such as "softly", "strongly", and "deftly", or after the word "very" when it is used as an adverb. Note, however, that you can use hyphens after words that end in "-ly" other than adverbs, such as "family", "barely", among others. As a reminder, adverbs are words that modify or qualify a verb, adjective, or other adverb.

  • Here is an example of adverbs that does not need to be hyphenated:

    The quickly dryingpaint was bone drywithin the hour.

  • Note that hyphens can be used correctly after a word ending in "-ly" that is not an adverb:

    The little boy reached toward the friendly-lookingrabbit without fear.

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Hyphenate Step 15

Step 6. Don't use hyphens in comparative and superlative adjectives

When you use a compound adjective to compare two or more things or ideas, you should not put a hyphen. This rule stems from the fact that the meaning of these types of adjectives is clear without the help of a hyphen. For example, you could never write "one house is better-constructed than the other", but it is okay to write "a house is better constructed than the other".

  • Here are some examples of comparative and superlative adjectives that do not need hyphens:

    After the boxing match, one fighter was clearly more bruisedthan the other.

    Even the best laidplans sometimes go awry.

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Hyphenate Step 16

Step 7. Don't use the script in chemical terms

Although it is somewhat rare for a person with no technical knowledge of chemistry to have to write at length on topics related to chemistry, it is useful to note that the names of specific chemicals do not contain hyphens. This is true even for long-named chemicals that contain multiple prefixes, such as "monochloroacetic acid."

  • Here is an example of chemical names, where hyphens are not necessary:

    After adding the cyclopentaneto the Erlenmeyer flask, the scientist stirred in 5 milliliters of hydrochloricacid.

Part 3 of 3: Knowing When to Use Stripe and Semi Stripe

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Hyphenate Step 17

Step 1. Know when to use a dash or semi-dash instead of a dash

There are two symbols similar to the hyphen called semi-dash (“en dash” in English) and dash (“em dash” in English), but they are used for different purposes. The semi-dashes ("-") are slightly longer than the dash, while the dashes ("-") are even longer. In informal writing, the indistinct use of hyphens by dashes and semi-dashes may go unnoticed; but in formal contexts, you should keep the specific usages of each one, since it could be considered a grammatical error to use them interchangeably. Following these general rules of thumb can help you maintain the differentiated use of hyphens, semi-dash, and dash. Here are some situations in which you will need to use stripe and semi stripe:

  • The ranges of dates, numbers, times, and values (semi-dashes)
  • Prefixes for words that do not usually have them (semi-dashes)
  • Replace with blank space or missing content (stripes)
  • Abrupt interruptions of sentences (stripes)
  • Interrupt a sentence to add information (dashes)
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Hyphenate Step 18

Step 2. Use semi-lines to describe ranges

Semi-dashes are often used to express the idea that two or more words or numbers are connected to each other by a range of values. For example, in the phrase "We just delivered the Jan – Apr issue," the semi-dash implies that the journal is valid from January to April, and not just January and April. Note that when using semi lines to indicate ranges, you should not leave any spaces before or after the semi line symbol.

  • Here is an example of a semi-dash that is used to express a range:

    Would you please schedule me an appointment for 1: 00–2: 00 PM?

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Hyphenate Step 19

Step 3. Use semi-dashes to match prefixes to strange words or phrases

In most cases, you should not use any type of punctuation mark in common prefixes such as "pre-", "post-", "re", among others. However, when connecting this type of prefix to a word that can be a proper name, a complex phrase, or a word that can look strange or bulky because it does not carry any type of separation mark, the use of a semi-dash is accepted. However, it is obvious that semi-dashes should not be used for words like "preselect" or "postgame", since their meaning is already clearly understood.

  • Here are some examples of semi-dashes used to join prefixes:

    The professor's degree in the pre-Cold War history of Russia qualified him to teach his course on Czar Nicholas II.

    Post – Andy Kaufman, the comedy landscape just didn't seem as vivid.

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Hyphenate Step 20

Step 4. Use stripes to punctuate a sentence

Stripes can be used to abruptly interrupt the flow of a sentence, with the intention of expressing related information, adding comments, etc. For this purpose, the dashes can be placed before the words inserted in the middle of the sentence, they can also be positioned before and after these in the case that the original sentence continues after the interruption. Unlike the hyphen and the semi-dash, some grammatical resources allow for this use to separate the dashes from the rest of the sentence using spaces.

  • Here are some examples of stripes used to interrupt sentences:

    Deborah - who was nineteen - still loved the swings at the local park.

    There's no need to lock the door - I'm coming out after you.

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Hyphenate Step 21

Step 5. Use dashes to show the interruption of a sentence

Stripes can also be used at the end of a sentence to show that the flow of words stopped abruptly before the sentence has concluded in a normal way. In this case, you should not end the sentence with a period or with question marks or exclamation marks, as you normally would. The line is a very useful instrument to use in written dialogue, since it allows you to show when one character interrupts another to impose what he wants to say.

  • Here is an example of a dash that is used to show someone who is interrupted when speaking:

    Where are we going? The police are right ov- "" Shh! They'll hear you."

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Hyphenate Step 22

Step 6. Use dashes to replace missing information

In some cases, when information is intentionally omitted, the use of one or more dashes to replace the missing words or letters is acceptable. This case is often used in dating. Some style guides ask for three lines to be used in place of an author's name to be recorded multiple times in a row. It can also be used to "censor" the names of people or places that you want to keep secret.

  • Here is an example of a dash that is used to replace missing information:

    The paranormal incident took place in the night sky just outside of the rural town of N--.


  • The hyphen key on a standard keyboard is located between zero (0) and equal (=), or you can use the minus (-) key on the numeric keypad.
  • If in doubt, skip the script.

Types of scripts

  • Script:)-(
  • Half Stripe:) - (
  • Stripe:)-(


  • Don't use hyphens unless they serve a purpose.
  • Do not abuse the use of scripts. It could make your writing look silly and childish.

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