I just recently answered a question related to how much water was filled in a glass. I answered "two thirds" but the answer was wrong because in the key answer book it was "two-thirds". Please tell me if my answer is wrong and why?

  • Can you tell us what the question was? That may help us understand the context better. (By the way, I recommend asking your teacher or professor since they are the final authority when it comes to determining correctness for things like these.) – MrHen Jul 18 '14 at 14:35
  • It was how much the water was filled in the glass? – designerNProgrammer Jul 18 '14 at 14:36
  • Thanks! I added that information to your post. What class or subject was this for? – MrHen Jul 18 '14 at 14:37
  • it was for IELTS exam listening – designerNProgrammer Jul 18 '14 at 14:42

Typically speaking, there is no significant difference between "two thirds" and "two-thirds". Which one to use is mostly a matter of style and is not important when determining reader or listener comprehension.

In the case of something like an IELTS exam, I would expect both "two thirds" and "two-thirds" to be accepted as correct answers. If I were marked wrong because of the missing hyphen I would bring it to the attention of my teachers and ask for a correction.

To be safe, however, you should include the hyphen since it is less likely to be interpreted incorrectly. "Two-thirds" is slightly more correct and anyone scoring a fill-in-the-blank section of a comprehension test is slightly more likely to mark it as a correct answer.

If you are curious about a technical correctness, than Fractions as phrasal (compound) adjectives discusses the issue in slightly more detail.

As always, with anything related to answers to tests and exams, you should also consult your teachers or professors. They are likely to provide help that is more accurate for any given context.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.