There is a progression in the spelling of a compound. Many times, it starts out as two words, becomes joined with a hyphen, and then becomes one word. Therefore, it’s very important to consult a recent dictionary or online resource to determine how a compound should be spelled.

Now, remember that just because you join a compound with a hyphen in one instance doesn’t mean you will always use a hyphen to join that compound. So, it’s important to evaluate a compound on a case-by-case basis to determine if the use of a hyphen is necessary.

So, I’m going to break down for you some of the most common instances when you should use hyphens.

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