Tom and Uncle Harry spent two days setting up the electric train-set.
Is this senence correct? Should train set be hyphenated. What are the rules of hyphenation?
No, train set should not be hyphenated.
Generally, word pairs used a nouns are not hyphenated, but there are exceptions. No "rule" can tell you what is the exception. Your best bet is to check the spelling in a comprehensive dictionary such as Merriam-Webster's Collegiate, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, or one of the Oxford English Dictionaries. All three have free online versions that give basic spelling and meaning.
Generally, word pairs that are used as adjectives before a noun are hyphenated -- electric-train set. But again, there are many exceptions. The Chicago Manual of Style devotes seven pages to explaining the rules and exceptions -- too long to try to explain here. But if you hyphenate the compound adjective, you are more likely to be correct than incorrect.
I hope this helps.
|link comment||answered Oct 26 '12 at 01:33 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow|
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