There are too many spelling and punctuation rules in the English language to count! The phrase “year and a half” is one of the most commonly used. But should this phrase contain hyphens or not? In this post, you’ll find out the correct punctuation rules, use cases, and sentence examples for “year and a half”.
Should “Year And A Half” Use Hyphens?
When the phrase “year and a half” is used as a compound noun it should not be hyphenated. However, if it were used as a compound adjective then hyphens would be inserted between each of the words.
Here are some examples of “year and a half” used as a compound adjective.
- Year-and-a-half long project
- Year-and-a-half long assignment
- Year-and-a-half long task
In these examples, “year and a half” is used as a compound adjective to describe the noun (project, assignment, task, etc.). We learned in our post about in-person hyphenation that punctuation highly depends on the context of the writing!
When Should Hyphens Be Used?
A hyphen is a short horizontal line that fills the space between two words. Just like we learned in our post on grammar & punctuation, there are many different situations in which a hyphen could be used. Here a few of the different situations where a hyphen could be inserted.
- Compound words: Hyphens are used to join two (or more) words that are paired or modify a specific noun. (i.e. Well-being, self-esteem, high-level)
- Prefixes and Suffixes: Hyphens are used with certain prefixes and suffixes to provide clarification or clarity. (i.e. pre-employment, non-English, ex-boyfriend)
- Numbers and Fractions: Hyphens are used in compound numbers and fractions. (i.e. thirty-two, two-thirds, three-quarters)
- Adjective-Noun Combinations: Hyphens are used to connect compound adjectives before a noun. (i.e. well-known author, fast-paced game, blue-eyed baby)
- Suspended Hyphens: Hyphens are used to avoid repetition when multiple prefixes are used. (i.e. high- and low-income earners)
Just like we saw in our post about the expression “including but not limited to“, punctuation is very important to the meaning of a sentence!
Here are 3 sentence examples that demonstrate how to use the phrase “year and a half” as a compound noun.
- I have been studying Spanish for a year and a half, and I’m starting to feel more confident.
- The project took a year and a half to complete, but the results were worth it.
- She waited anxiously for a year and a half to receive the job offer.
Here are 3 different sentence examples that demonstrate how to use the phrase “year-and-a-half” as a compound adjective.
- He is serving a year-and-a-half sentence for his involvement in the robbery.
- The company announced a year-and-a-half extension to their deadline.
- We planned a year-and-a-half trip to Europe.
However, just like we saw in our post about the words vender vs vendor, spelling mistakes are common. So pay very close attention to your spelling & punctuation!
Do All Compound Adjectives Use Hyphens?
No, not all compound adjectives are hyphenated. When a compound adjective is used after the specific noun it is describing a hyphen is NOT required.
- My car lease was short term.
However, in the majority of cases it is appropriate to use a hyphen between your compound adjectives. Especially when the adjective comes before the noun it is describing. Check our post on re-use vs reuse if you want to understand hyphen rules even more.
- Blue-collar worker
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is correct to say “year and a half”. If it is used as a compound noun then you do not need hyphens between all the words.
No, compound nouns do not get hyphenated. For example, “the project took four and a half years to complete.” You could also say “the test took two and a half hours to complete.”
A fancy way to say half a year is semiyearly and semiannually. You could also say six-month period or any other phrase that means six months.
The Bottom Line
By now you should have a firm understanding of the difference between when you should and should not use a hyphen in your writing. The phrase “year and a half” is complex and the punctuation rules depend on the context that it is used in! If you need extra help with spelling and punctuation rules, consider using our Grammar Review Tool to make things easy!