4

The first one has - connected and the others do not have, this two seem to have the same meaning but my teacher say not, what is the difference between them?

7

In general, hyphens are used to construct compound adjectives:

  • I had to catch an early-morning train.
  • I like late-night television.
  • She wears extra-large socks.

Hyphens are not used when the words stand alone. So, to use your examples:

  • It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip (a trip so special or expensive that one would be unlikely to undertake such a trip more than once, and once-in-a-lifetime acts as an adjective).
  • We are born once in a lifetime (literally, this event happens exactly once, and the four words stand alone to describe that fact).

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