Hyphen Connecting Two Or More Words Functioning Together As An Adjective Before A Noun
A hyphen can connect two (or possibly three… or four if you want to get really creative) words and turn them into a single adjective to modify a noun. The words can be nouns, adjectives, verbs or adverbs. Sometimes the same words used separately, and the meaning is entirely different than if the words are hyphenated. For instance, take a look at these two sentences, one of which uses a compound modifier:
The table was covered by twenty odd books.
The table was covered by twenty-odd books.
In the first sentence, the books are being described as odd; in the second sentence, there are approximately twenty books covering the table. The second sentence uses a compound modifier.
Want some chocolate-chocolate-chip ice cream?
Watch out! That’s a one-way street!
Finally, they announced the long-awaited decision about the merger.
I prefer the light-blue shirt on you.
Despite severe autism, my brother is quite high-functioning.