Looking up is always the right direction. Here are a few examples of how you can get going the right way when it comes to “up” words. You’ll find that hyphens are often used.
- mix up: two words as a verb. For example, “I’m going to mix up a batch of cookies.”
- mix-up: hyphenated as an adjective or noun. For example, “Please pardon the mix-up.”
- setup: one word as a noun or adjective. As in, “What kind of crazy setup did they have at the event?”
- set up: two words as a verb. For example, “I need you to set up that meeting, please.”
- start up: two words as a verb. “Start up the car; I’ll be out in a minute.”
- start-up: hyphenated as an adjective or noun. “The small start-up was known for being nimble and innovative.”
Quick one today: Words that have a “re” prefix require a hyphen if the compound word starts with “e.”
Think of it this way: “Re” with an “e” needs a hyphen.
A few examples:
When you’re using adverbs that have “ly” at the end, you don’t need a hyphen.
- The beautifully dressed woman took center stage.
- The carefully prepared presentation caught the team’s attention.
- His compassionately listening ear made her feel better.
Hyphens are the connectors of punctuation. They join words, they link modifiers, and generally make ideas easier to understand.
Use a hyphen with modifiers (i.e., descriptions) that include the words “self” and “well.”
A few other “self” and “well” words that aren’t modifiers, but still take a hyphen: