Ever seen a word in a group followed by a hyphen and a space that looks strange? Like this: ABC Mortgage Company offers special rates and handling of fifteen- and thirty-year mortgages. OR Studies have determined the distinctions between right- or left-brain functions. Welcome to the world of suspended hyphens. When one or more hyphenated adjectives** has a common basic element and this element is shown only with the last term, insert a suspending hyphen after each of the incomplete adjectives to indicate a relationship with the last term. Here are more examples: * A three- or four-color glossy cover * Two- and four-wheel drive * Pre- and post-war * First-, second-, and third-graders * 25-, 35-, 45-, and 55-year-olds If you don't like using suspended hyphens, why not re-cast their sentences to avoid them? Example: using the heading of this article, you could recast to say, "There will be a delay of between two and six days." ** Adjectives: Word that describes what kind, how many, or which one. Adjectives can be single words or a group of words. Modifies the meanings of nouns and pronouns.
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