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    #1

    Two-year-old, hyphens or dashes?

    Two-year-old is an adjective. You can say, two-year-old girl, or two-year-old cat, or two-year-old child. Sometimes, two-year-old is used as a noun on its own, and in that case ("My two-year-old", say), child is usually implied, although it could refer to an animal if the context is clear. It's a compound adjective, with dashes to make it clear it is all one phrase, and it is usually pronounced with the words run together. You might see it without the dashes, and it is usually clear what is meant.
    http://ell.stackexchange.com/questio...d-two-year-old

    Are the symbols in "two-year-old" hyphens or dashes?
    I need native speakers' help.

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    #2

    Re: Two-year-old, hyphens or dashes?

    They're hyphens. Many people refer to both hyphens and dashes as dashes.
    I am not a teacher.

  1. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Two-year-old, hyphens or dashes?

    - is a hyphen.
    is a dash.
    I am not a teacher.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Two-year-old, hyphens or dashes?

    Before the days of personal computers, few people except editors, proofreaders and printers knew about the difference in length between the hyphen/en dash and the dash/em dash. Actually, not many do today. My keyboard today has no em dash. I use the en dash for both hyphens and dashes. If I write for publication, I know my publisher's editors will change things if they wish.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Two-year-old, hyphens or dashes?

    Like Piscean, my hyphen and dash are the same length. The difference between them, when I write, is that there is no space either side of a hyphen but there is a space either side of a dash.

    This is a meat-eating insect. (hyphen)
    Here is a word in italics - happy. (dash)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: Two-year-old, hyphens or dashes?

    Microsoft Word will produce an em-dash if you type two consecutive hyphens, unless you've disabled the feature. This works great for me as I learned at an early age to type two hyphens -- like this -- when I wanted an em-dash.

    My father bought a very fancy proportional-space-enabled IBM typewriter for his laboratory. His secretary learned which of the three or four backspace keys to use to get the carriage to exactly the right spot for corrections.
    I am not a teacher.

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