If I understand correctly, 105 should be written

one hundred five

as in

The building has one hundred five stories.

But is it

A one-hundred-five-story building


A one hundred five-story building

or something else?

Note: I'm familiar with the rules stated in the suggested duplicate, but the answer there doesn't necessarily apply because numbers greater than 20 and less than 100 are hyphenated regardless. My confusion arises when combining the rule that 105 is not hyphenated on its own, but compound adjectives should be hyphenated. Note also that the links in the suggested duplicate are dead, so I rely only on the text of the answer.

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Davo, Nigel J, Mari-Lou A, tchrist Dec 13 '17 at 1:42

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  • There probably aren't many written instances of [105] storey building, but there are hundreds of references to twenty-two-storey buildings in Google Books. Which as you'll see mostly have just the first hyphen there (note that GB searches don't distinguish between hyphens and spaces, so that search would pick up every variant). – FumbleFingers Dec 11 '17 at 19:08
  • @Davo The key difference is that twenty-four is always hyphenated, as it's greater than twenty and less than one hundred. I'll edit my question to illustrate that point. – Eric J. Dec 11 '17 at 21:42
  • Ah, I see. You could always use a one hundred and five-story building, but I realize this doesn't answer your question. – Davo Dec 11 '17 at 21:54

Ultimately this will be a matter of house style, the written (or unwritten) conventions observed in the place where you're writing. In Daily Writing Tips Mark Nichol offers this advice, drawn from the widely-followed Chicago Manual of Style:

Don’t hyphenate a physical dimension to the unit name unless those two terms modify a noun (“10 feet,” but “10-foot pole”). Hyphenate double-digit numbers by themselves — and within larger numbers — if they aren’t multiples of ten (“sixty-four,” “one hundred twenty-eight”), but don’t hyphenate all the elements of a large number like a chain.

Another widely consulted style manual, the Associated Press Stylebook, essentially says that fewer hyphens are better, provided that the expression is clear and unambiguous.

  • I realize that compound adjectives (two terms modifying a noun) should be hyphenated and two-digit numbers should be hyphenated. My confusion arises from the fact that 105 is a three-digit number, so not hyphenated when it stands on its own. The rule but don’t hyphenate all the elements of a large number like a chain leaves me with one hundred five-story, which looks odd because one hundred is not attached to five-story. – Eric J. Dec 11 '17 at 21:48

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