The original sentence:

Because the Moon has only an eightieth of the Earth's mass, it requires 97 per cent less energy to travel the quarter of a million miles from the Moon to Earth-orbit than the 200 mile-journey from Earth's surface into orbit!

Is the boldfaced part supposed to be “the 200-mile journey” in standard English?

Thanks for the help, as always.

  • 1
    Yes, that's right. The writer (or editor or typographer) put the hyphen in the wrong place. It happens a lot in publishing, usually as a result of carelessness but sometimes because the writer simply doesn't know how to use hyphens properly.
    – Sven Yargs
    May 17, 2019 at 5:40
  • @SvenYargs I agree, I can only imagine a mile-journey being a journey of one mile. Not really applicable to space travel!
    – BoldBen
    May 17, 2019 at 7:15
  • Lots of people would omit the hyphen entirely.
    – Hot Licks
    May 17, 2019 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


200-mile is correct. It is a compound adjective derived from an adjective+noun phrase as in: The journey was 200 (adjective) miles (noun). Note the noun is made singular in the conversion. It is common with numbers + noun, as in a three-metre rope, a 60-kilogram rock. Addition of a postpositive adjective to these can cause confusion. As in the pool was three metres deep = a three-metre-deep pool, NOT: a three-metre deep or three metre-deep or three metre deep pool.

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