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Is the hyphen between "five" an "hundred" necessary? Options
Koh yoong liat
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 5:43:48 AM

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The first five-hundred years of the Latter Day of the Law

Is the hyphen between "five" an "hundred" necessary?

Thanks.
Wilmar (USA) 1M
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 7:39:54 AM

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Hyphens are included in compound adjectives. Read about it here: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/Hyphens.htm

Other examples include (from that Farlex Grammar lesson):

“It is the only 10-storey building in the town.”
“I find her salt-and-pepper hair very attractive.”
“She had bright, blue-green eyes.”
thar
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 9:40:54 AM

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So here the hyphen is wrong, because this is a simple number

five hundred years.

the first month
the first six months
the first year
the first five hundred years

of the Latter Day of the Law

(I don't know what that is, but I will leave it as it is, because it could make sense. I am just used to seeing 'Latter-Day' as an adjective itself. In this structure there is a single 'Latter Day'. Which does not seem to make much sense to me.)


If it were an adjective, the whole thing would be hyphenated and the noun would be singular even though the number is plural.

a war
a one-week war
a two-week war
a one-year war
a five-hundred-year war

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 11:27:50 AM

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Hello Koh Yoong Liat.
Koh Elaine asked some very similar questions today.

There are several rules for hyphens.

Compound adjectives are hyphenated.
The five-hundred-year-old house was used as a museum.
It has stood for a five-hundred-year period.

Compound numbers above 100 are not hyphenated.
It was twenty-two years old.
The house was five hundred years old.

The rules are all here.
Bathcoup
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2021 1:27:47 PM
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Either I don't understand what a compound number is or it's an invalid concept. What is the defining property of compound numbers? I don't understand why the numbers between 120 and 200 are less compound than those between 20 and 100.

Sometimes it's a little helpful if a double-digit number greater 20 is hyphenated, eg. in "twenty-one thousand fifty-pound bank notes", but that's just hyphenation, there's nothing compound in the number 21. BTW TFD doesn't say how to write 50 as a `compound number` (five-zero or fifty-zero).
thar
Posted: Friday, May 14, 2021 3:35:34 PM

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A ompund number is two numbers hyphenated to produce a number.

Ie everything from twenty-one to ninety-nine (except the tens).

Numbers used to be conjoined - four and twenty.
Now they are compund the hyphen is a fundamental part of the number. Twenty-four.





There is no need to hyphenate anything else because no other numbers in the number system are constructed that way.

Just to clarify for the OP:
Twenty four-hour shifts
=20 shifts each of 4 hours

Twenty-four hour shifts
=24 shifts each of 1 hour

Twenty-four-hour shifts
=Shifts of 24 hours


Edit - by 'used to be' , I meant the number system from Old English. It only survives in songs and poetry now. Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie...
Eg in Old English 22 is "tƿā and tƿēntiġ" , literally “two and twenty,”
It is stil that way in modern German - "zwei­und­zwanzig" . Strangely, Old Norse and Icelandic do use 'and' and separate words, but in the other order, twenty and two. . 22 in Icelandic is "tuttugu og tveir" .
Bathcoup
Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2021 6:02:10 AM
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A number like 321 is a unique instance of a generic concept integer (as much as 21 is).

21 = “twenty-one”, having two parts
321 = “Three hundred (and) twenty-one”, having at least four parts (all the more reason calling it a compound number!)

It’s ok to lay down a simple rule that all two-digit numbers greater than 20, except the tens (this bit is not in TFD) are written hyphened. However, hyphenation shouldn't be the reason they are called compound numbers.

I understand the purpose is to avoid possible confusion, but such hard-and-fast rule appears to be yet another example of the grammarian's overreaction.
“I’m twenty one” is no more confusing that “She’s one hundred (and) two”.

"Twenty-four hour shifts" - It' understandable that they refer to shifts that last an hour - what kind work is that? In any case, shouldn't it be "Twenty-four one-hour shifts"?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2021 8:35:06 AM

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Bathcoup wrote:
I don't understand why the numbers between 120 and 200 are less compound than those between 20 and 100.

They're not less compound. No-one said they were.

Bathcoup wrote:
BTW TFD doesn't say how to write 50 as a `compound number`
One doesn't write "fifty" as a compound number. It only has one word.

Quote:
Compound numbers
While we usually write double-digit numbers numerically (as in 21, 45, 87, etc.), we can also write them as words. For any double-digit number higher than 20 and lower than 100, we use a hyphen to write it as a compound number.
For example:

twenty-one (21)
forty-five (45)
eighty-seven (87)

We use this same method if the hyphenated number appears in a compound that’s more than two digits. If the number has more than three digits, we use commas in the same way as we would for writing it numerically. For example:

one hundred ninety-nine (199)
two thousand, three hundred thirty-two (2,332)
five million, four hundred fifty-six thousand, one hundred twenty-two (5,456,122)
Farlex Grammar
ALL the numbers written in the quote above are compound numbers.

It's not about digits - it's about words.

The words "one" to "nineteen" express the number in a single word, they are not compound.
The words "thirty", "forty", "fifty" express a number in a single word. They are not compounds.
"Twenty-one" uses two words; it is a compound.

Single-word numbers can't be hyphenated.
Compound numbers above twenty and below a hundred are hyphenated. ("twenty-one" "seventy-seven")
Above 100, the 'hundreds' are separated from the 'tens' and 'units' by the word "and" normally (some Americans don't do that) "One hundred and fifty-seven", "Seven hundred and twenty-three".

Technically, if you look at the definition of "compound number" in any dictionary, it's a number expressed in more than one unit.
"One pound, five ounces" is a compound.
"Two dollars fifteen cents" is a compound.
"Twenty-one" is "two tens one unit", "fifty-three" is "five tens three units".
"Fifty" is not a compound - it only has 'tens'; no 'hundreds' and no 'units'.

These rules work for compound numbers which stand alone - "The answer is forty-two.", "I chose a hundred and twenty-nine."

These rules also work for compound numbers when they are used as determiners - "I had thirty-five pounds left." "He gave them two hundred and twenty antique postcards."
(It's fairly normal, now, to use numerals above 100 - I have thirty-five pounds left." "He gave them 220 antique postcards."

*****************
There are another few 'laws' concerning adjectives with more than one word (compound adjectives).
They are different from the rules for compound numbers used as determiners.

"It was a thirty-seven-year war." "thirty-seven-year" is an adjective modifying "war". The determiner is "a".

"He had a hundred-and-forty-four-thousand-pound house." - "hundred-and-forty-four-thousand-pound" is an adjective modifying "house". The determiner is "a".
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