Common mistake Missing hyphen in 'second largest'

Common Mistake: Missing Hyphen

One of the most common grammatical mistakes that people make is forgetting to use a hyphen when it is needed. A hyphen is a punctuation mark that is used to connect two or more words together to create a compound word or phrase.


Incorrect: "He owns the second largest car collection in the world."

Correct: "He owns the second-largest car collection in the world."

In the incorrect example, the absence of a hyphen between "second" and "largest" causes confusion and changes the intended meaning. The correct usage of the hyphen clarifies that the speaker is referring to the second-largest car collection, not the second collection of the largest cars.

Hyphens are also commonly used in compound adjectives that come before the noun they modify. For example:


Incorrect: "She bought a brand new computer."

Correct: "She bought a brand-new computer."

In this case, the hyphen is necessary to indicate that the computer is "brand-new" or completely new, rather than just being a brand computer that is new.

To avoid making this common mistake, it is important to pay attention to compound words and phrases and use hyphens where necessary to clarify the intended meaning. If you're unsure, a great tool to help you catch these errors is Linguix grammar checker, which can quickly identify missing hyphens, among other common mistakes in your writing.

Missing hyphen in 'second largest' mistake examples

  • Incorrect:
    Cologne is the fourth largest city in Germany.

    Cologne is the fourth-largest city in Germany.

  • Correct:
    She is the second most recognizable woman.
Linguix Browser extension
Fix your writing
on millions of websites
Linguix pencil
This website uses cookies to make Linguix work for you. By using this site, you agree to our cookie policy