The phrase ‘year and a half’ does not need to have a hyphen because by itself it is a compound noun. If it were being used as a compound adjective, on the other hand, you would use a hyphen in between the 4 words.
Continue reading to learn more about what hyphens are, how to properly use them in written form, and a few examples of using the phrase ‘year and a half’ with hyphens and without.
What is a Hyphen?
A hyphen is a type of punctuation mark used to connect words or sections of words. It cannot be used interchangeably with the other types of dashes. Hyphens need two things to connect words a modifier and a compound. When the modifier comes before the word that it is modifying, you would use a hyphen within the compound modifier.
When to Use a Hyphen
There are currently nine different ways to use a hyphen in the English written language. Some are more common ways of using hyphens than others, like using it to divide a word when there is no more space on the line.
Other times, like using a hyphen to prevent misreading of words, is a less common but still acceptable way to use punctuation. Let us examine a few of the many ways to use a hyphen.
Using Hyphens in Compound Adjectives
A hyphen is used to unite two or more words to produce compound adjectives that come before a noun. The goal of connecting words to produce a compound adjective is to distinguish the meaning from that of the adjectives used independently, such as current merchandise, copper-coated wire, fire-tested substance, lump-sum payment, and well-stocked cupboard.
We use “Year-and-a-half” when we want to describe something that takes one year and a half.
The year-and-a-half-old baby was so cute.
Using Hyphens in Double-Vowels; To Prevent Misreading
Another common use for a hyphen is to eliminate double vowels and misreading of certain words. For example, pre-eminent, re-elect, and semi-independence all have double vowels that need a hyphen to break them up. If these words were not broken up, the emphasis would be on the wrong syllable.
Words like re-collect, re-creation, and co-respondent all feature hyphens to prevent the misreading of these words. Without a hyphen these words would be recollect, recreation, and correspondent, respectively. As you can see, without the hyphen these specific examples would read as completely different words.
Does Year and a Half Need a Hyphen?
No. The phrase year and a half does not need a hyphen because it is not a compound adjective that is describing a noun.
Examples of year and a half without a hyphen:
- The project will take a year and a half to complete.
- We need a year and a half to finish up.
Notice that we are not describing the age of something but rather we are talking about how long it will take.