Knowing that we hyphen compound numbers under 100. Do we do the same for the ones used for ranks? Every website I've looked at teaches how to hyphen cardinal numbers (67, 82, 34,...) but does not say what to do with ordinal numbers (67th, 82nd, 34th,...).

As an alternative, I've tried to deduce a rule by looking up examples from Reverso, however what I've seen does not relate to what I look for.

So how should I hyphen these:

  • twenty(-)second

  • eighty(-)first

  • five(-)hundred(-)and(-)sixty(-)fith

I'm just guessing but, if the principle is the same as for cardinal numbers, then this is how I would hyphen them, though I could totally be wrong:

  • twenty-second --> Because the cardinal would be "twenty-two"

  • eighty-first --> Because the cardinal would be "eighty-one"

  • five hundred and sixty-fith --> Because the cardinal would be "five hundred and sixty-five".

If possible, could anyone provide me with a link to a website that covers this?


1 Answer 1


(1) The verb is hyphenate, not hyphen.

(2) Hyphenation is not performed on compounds depending on what the words of the compound are. Hyphenation is performed on compounds depending on how the compound is used in the sentence. Since the examples are not complete sentences, nobody can tell how they should be hyphenated.

(3) The purpose of hyphenating compounds is to make them officially "single words", so that they can be used as adjectives or identifiers for some noun. Hence the "eleven-year-old boy rule":

  • He's a boy eleven years old. (no hyphens, multi-word following modifier)
  • He's an eleven-year-old boy. (hyphenated, single-word preceding modifier)

(4) Ordinal numbers are modifiers, so they are often hyphenated.

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