正确: the well-known actor (知名演员)
错误: the well known actor
在 这个例子中，well-known 是个复合字，用来形容 actor。在这边连字号表示well这个字只对known有效，而不会扩及 actor。也就是说，这个词的意思不是一个「健康 (well)而且为人所知(known)」的演员，而是「知名」(well-known)的演员。
正确: the out-of-date curriculum (过时的课程)
正确: short-term solution (暂时的解决方案)
正确: He is a small-business man. (他是某家小型企业的老板)
错误: He is a small business man. (他是个个子很小的生意人)
正确: A light-green suitcase is pale in color. (浅绿色的行李箱属于淡色系。)
正确: A light green suitcase is not heavy. (轻的绿色行李箱重量不重。)
Uni-edit English Writing Tip: How to use hyphens correctly (Part A)
Level of difficulty: Advanced
Editors at Uni-edit often need to correct the use of hyphens during English editing of manuscripts. Correct use of hyphens shows the author's advanced command of English and helps to make detailed descriptions clear.
The hyphen, which is a very short horizontal line that looks like this '-', is very helpful to disambiguate modified words, which will make your writing clearer. Hyphens are used often in all academic writing in English.
Hyphens cause writers more trouble than any other form of punctuation, except perhaps commas. This may be because the hyphen has no analogue in speech; it is punctuation created purely by the needs of print. The point of the hyphen is to avoid ambiguity for the reader.
Let's look at some common uses and misuses:
Create a compound word using a hyphen
Correct: the well-known actor
Incorrect: the well known actor
In this example, 'well-known' is a compound word that modifies 'actor'. The hyphen indicates that the 'well' applies to only the 'known' and does not apply to the 'actor'. That is, it is the actor is not both well and known.
Correct: the out-of-date curriculum
Correct: short-term solution
Make the modification clear using a hyphen
Correct: He is a small-businessman.
Incorrect: He is a small businessman.
Above, to indicate that it is the business that is small, and not the man who is small, we need the hyphen. Below is another example, where both situations are correct but have different meanings.
Correct: A light-green suitcase is pale in color.
Here the suitcase's color is described.
Correct: A light green suitcase is not heavy.
Here the suitcase is both light in weight and is green.
END OF TIP