Hyphens: peacock jumping spider
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) It was mid-June and the eight-eyed tiny spider leapt around his green-leafed habitat.
2) The brown-bodied female was dull in comparison to the brightly-coloured male, who had just re-entered his leafy stage to give one final dance.
3) These are not web-making spiders; they release a continuous silk strand (known as a dragline) as they travel through the semi-arid regions of Australia.
Did you know?
Although these spiders are venomous, they are not dangerous to humans as their fangs are too small to puncture human skin.