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A hyphen is a symbol used to join two words or two syllables of a single word together. It is not to be confused with dashes or the minus symbol, as these are all longer than the hyphen and serve different purposes in language.

A hyphen (-) is a symbol used to connect two words, or occasionally two morphemes, to form a compound. It is not to be confused with the en dash () or the em dash () as these are noticeably longer than the hyphen and serve a significantly different purpose in language (see ).

It is also distinct from the traditional minus symbol, though the hyphen-minus on modern keyboards is often used in place of either of the symbols from which it derives its name, simply because it is easier to type and is also distinct from the dashes.

An example of proper hyphen use would be:

twenty-two [rather than twenty two]

Hyphenation is also used to append prefixes to proper nouns or adjectives [e.g. anti-Bush], or to adjectives which begin with the same vowel as the prefix's end e.g. co-operation.

The hyphen is also used to indicate that a word has been truncated at the page edge and has thence been continued on the next line, like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consecte-
tur adipisicing elit sed do eiusmod

Hyphens are not appropriate as a form of parenthesis; this is the primary application of the em dash.

See also:

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