What is a hyphen?

A hyphen (-) is a punctuation mark used to connect two or more words that work together to express a combined meaning or modify a following word. A series of two or more words joined by hyphens is called a hyphenated compound. Examples include “decision-making,” “well-being,” and “high-quality.”

A hyphen is different from an en dash (–), which is used to indicate numerical ranges (e.g., “10–15”) and to mean “to” in other contexts (e.g., “the Brussels–London train”).

It’s also not the same as an em dash (—), which is used to indicate a break in a sentence or set off a parenthetical statement (e.g., “What I’m saying—and stop me if you’ve heard this before—is that …”).