Hyphenate ‘re-’ words where there are two e’s - eg: re-evaluate.

Don't hyphenate:

  • reuse
  • cooperate
  • reorder
  • email
  • reopen
  • egovernment
  • coordinate
  • online.

Check the Macquarie Dictionary. If in doubt, don't use a hyphen.

Use a spaced hyphen to expand information in bullet point lists, not en or em dashes. 

Read more about bullet points.

Compound adjectives

A compound adjective is formed when two or more adjectives, descriptive words, are used to modify a noun.

     ✔ part-time worker
     ✔ three-year program

Hyphens are very important to compound adjectives. The meaning of a sentence can change without them.


  • I saw a man-eating crocodile (the crocodile has eaten a man)
  • I saw a man eating crocodile (the man is eating a crocodile).

Proper hyphenation makes sentences with compound adjectives easier to read:   

     ✔ The government signed a three-year deal
     X  The government signed a three year deal

     ✔ All-day parking is available at the ground
      All day parking is available at the ground

Hyphens are normally not needed when combining an adverb, many of which end in ‘ly’, with an adjective. The meaning is clear without a hyphen:

    ✔ internationally recognised expert
    ✔ rapidly rising floods

Last updated: 28 November 2017