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英文寫作秘訣TIP002A:如何正確使用連字號 (Part A)






正確: the well-known actor     (知名演員)
錯誤: the well known actor

在這個例子中, well-known 是個複合字,用來形容 actor 。在這邊連字號表示well這個字只對known有效,而不會擴及 actor。也就是說,這個詞的意思不是一個「健康 (well)而且為人所知(known)」的演員,而是「知名」(well-known)的演員。

正確: the out-of-date curriculum         (過時的課程)
正確: short-term solution                (暫時的解決方案)


正確: He is a small-business man.     (他是某家小型企業的老闆。)
錯誤: He is a small business man.     (他是個個子很小的生意人。)


正確: A light-green suitcase is pale in color.      (淺綠色的行李箱屬於淡色系。)


正確: A light green suitcase is not heavy.        (輕的綠色行李箱重量不重。)


Download Tip Here: pdf-icon  如何正確使用連字號 (Part A)

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Correct: the out-of-date curriculum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.