Hyphens: grey mullet
The Grammar Bit!
Read the three scintillating sentences opposite. You’ll notice that they each contain one or more hyphenated words (bold). Hyphens (not to be confused with dashes) join either prefixes or whole words to new words to make one thing.
The new words created fall into the following word classes:
- Nouns (show-off, merry-go-round, runner-up)
- Adjectives (part-time, two-storey, sports-mad)
- Verbs (gift-wrap, baby-sit, re-cover, re-discover)
Hyphens can be used to make your sentences both more descriptive and easier to understand.
With your talk partner, see if you can identify the word class of each of the hyphenated words opposite. Discuss how the meaning of each sentence might alter if the hyphens were removed.
1) The build-up to the feeding frenzy began with the algae-loving mullet.
2) The slow-moving mullet stayed close to the beach in a fortress-like shoal.
3) As the mean-spirited copper sharks moved in, the pelicans dive-bombed from high above.
Did you know?
Fish scales are often covered in a layer of slime. The slime helps the fish glide quickly through the water.