Let’s look at the example on the left.
Is the guy working twenty shifts that are each four hours long, twenty-four shifts that are each an hour long? Or shifts that last twenty-four hours in total?
As you can see, where you place the hyphen in the number can make a significant difference to the meaning of the sentence.
Hyphenating Numbers: The Rules
- You should always hyphenate numbers when you are describing compound numbers between 21 and 99 (except 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90). A compound number is any number that consists of two words; for example, eighty-eight, twenty-two, forty-nine.
- Numbers higher than 99 do not need a hyphen.
Hyphenating Numbers: Examples
The bingo caller pulled a ball from the machine and announced: “Two little ducks, twenty-two.”
There were over one hundred people in line for the concert.
A total of two hundred and fifty-five people participated in the survey.
A one hundred million dollar profit is not such a big deal when you made two hundred and eighty-six million dollars the year before.
I haven’t seen Gerald since nineteen forty-five.
I was shocked to see that there were three hundred chickens living in the barn.
24,624,678 (24,624,678.5 (twenty-four million, six hundred twenty-four thousand, six hundred seventy-eight and five tenths).
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