Here are few examples of hyphen usage I found (albeit on internet) for numbers with preposition in between. At the same time I find these without hyphens in similar usage.

  1. #-for-#
    • [Barry] "Bonds went 3-for-4 and scored three times" ESPN
    • [Barry] "Bonds went 3 for 4 and scored three times" WashingtonPost
  2. #-of-#
    • "The forward posted 12 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the floor and a solid 2-of-5 behind the arc." NBA
    • [Damion] "Lee went 2 of 6 from 3-point range." NYTimes
  3. #-to-#
    • "Andover Hall is the early favorite at 2-to-1 odds, ..." NYTimes
    • "For instance the latest betting lines for UFC Fight Night in Cincinnati have instilled the favorite at 2 to 1 odds." Fox

So my question is, are their any rules of hyphen usage for numbers that are glued together with a preposition? If there is a rule, then a reference to the rule will be greatly appreciated.

The only rule that seems to exist is ... when it is used to describe a noun and the description is before the noun with the unit involved always in singular form (e.g. inch) like so.

  • #-by-#-unit
    • "Line the bottom and sides of a 13-by-9-inch cake pan with foil, ..." LATimes

I believe #-by-#-unit case falls under Rule 4 of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: Hyphens but I wonder if anyone will raise an eyebrow if the above example was written without hyphens like: "Line the bottom and sides of a 13 by 9 inch cake pan with foil.

  • 1
    I will raise that eyebrow for 'a 13 by 9 inch cake pan'.
    – Řídící
    Apr 14 at 7:56
  • 1
    I think it's a case-by-case thing and each should be asked separately: dimensions, odds, and sports statistics all have their own conventions.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 14 at 9:16
  • @Řídící on Amazon there are a lot of cases of "12 by 12 inch" (and "12 by 12-Inch" or "12 by 12 inches"). Not the best place for good grammar, but certainly one with lots of examples.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 14 at 9:20
  • @StuartF: Although I understand it is case-by-case, for each of the above (#-for-#, #-of--#, #-to-#), each case is in similar usage context (sports stats, sports stats, odds respectively). Is there a right vs wrong or a preferred way of writing specifically for the examples that I've given above? The examples I used are taken from outlets where I presume there are designated people within the organization to check grammar and styles. I am kind of confused why it is inconsistent when usage seems to be the same (for the above example that I've given).
    – mak
    Apr 14 at 23:59

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