Hyphenation is not the most important thing in the world, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Here are the three rules you need to obey if you want to get it right.
- Hyphenate in between syllables. Syllables are just the different sounds in a word, and you can count them. For instance, happily has three syllables because there are three different sounds (hap-, -pi- and -ly). Putting the hyphen in between syllables just makes it easier to read. This also means that you can’t hyphenate words that have only one syllable. Sorry, but you just can’t…!
- Start the second part of the word on the next line with a consonant. Again, it just makes it easier to read if you start the second part with a consonant. Hence, the word ‘cleaning’ in the picture should be hyphenated before the ‘n’ and not after!
- If there’s a double consonant or two consonants in a row, put the hyphen in between the two. This almost always makes the word easier to read because it breaks the word in a ‘natural’ position. For instance, the word ‘railway’ naturally breaks into ‘rail-‘ and ‘way’.
And that’s it…! Here are a few sample questions to test yourself on.
Hyphenate the following words correctly. (There may be more than one option!)