Hyphenation has caused various issues with some people learning English or trying to develop their language skills and comprehension. The word “hand-in-hand” is no stranger to this issue and has left many people scratching their heads, wondering what’s correct and what isn’t.
Hand In Hand Or Hand-In-Hand – Hyphenated Or Not?
The hand in hand hyphen rule applies when you’re using the words as an adjective that modifies a noun in a sentence. You do not hyphenate the phrase if you’re using it as a noun phrase itself. Both variations are correct and are dependent on the situation that you’re using them.
Is Hand In Hand Hyphenated AP Style?
AP Style suggests that hyphens are “joiners” that connect two or more closely linked words to understand the reader easily. When the words are connected, they are used to modify a noun in a sentence. Therefore, the hyphen is not needed when no noun is being modified (oftentimes, you’ll find the phrase at the end of a clause rather than in the middle of it).
Should I Capitalize “In-Hand” In The Word “Hand-In-Hand”?
When writing hyphens in a title, a whole new question is raised. How do you capitalize the individual words? Most people are fine when it’s only one word they’re dealing with, but when three words are condensed into one, what happens to capitalization rules? Well, it depends on your style and the requirements of what you’re writing for.
There are three main styles used to write titles. The first is to use a capital letter for the first word and only proper nouns in the title. Everyone else is left lower case. In this situation, none of the words in “hand-in-hand” are capitalized. The second style capitalizes all words, except for articles, short conjunctions, and short prepositions. Only the first “hand” is capitalized with these titles, and “in-hand” is left lower-case.
The final title style involves capitalizing all words in a title. In this case, all three words in “hand-in-hand” are capitalized to fit the theme.
Examples Of When To Use “Hand In Hand”
We’ll now take a few minutes to look through examples of when to use “hand in hand,” both hyphenated and unhyphenated. We’ll start with the unhyphenated version when it is used as a standalone noun.
- They were walking hand in hand.
- I was with her hand in hand until the end.
- We were hand in hand.
- You should be hand in hand.
As you can see, each example clearly shows “hand in hand” at the end of the clause, which means it isn’t used to modify any nouns in the sentence. This is the only time you’ll use the phrase without hyphens.
Examples Of When To Use “Hand-In-Hand”
Now, let’s see when we use it with the hyphens included. You won’t often see this variation as much as you’ll see it thrown at the end of the sentence because there aren’t many times where you’ll need to modify a noun with “hand-in-hand.”
- It was a hand-in-hand procession.
- Their wedding featured a hand-in-hand ceremony.
- We did hand-in-hand exercises. It was weird.
- That’s a hand-in-hand model.
As you can see, each of these scenarios features a noun like “procession,” “ceremony,” “exercises,” and “model.” All of these nouns are being modified by “hand-in-hand,” which is why we hyphenate it.
Alternatives To “Hand In Hand”
If you’re still not fully understanding the rule, there is one final workaround you can make! It’s probably the best thing you can do for yourself! Just find some suitable alternatives and forget about the hyphens entirely!
- Holding hands
Quiz – Hand In Hand Or Hand-In-Hand?
Finally, let’s see what you’ve learned with a quick quiz! Tell us which variation of the phrase you’d use in each sentence and compare your answers at the end! It’s multiple-choice, so take your time.
- They walked down the aisle (A. hand in hand / B. hand-in-hand).
- The couple was (A. hand in hand / B. hand-in-hand).
- This is a (A. hand in hand / B. hand-in-hand) practice.
- We do not like being (A. hand in hand / B. hand-in-hand).
- The hospital did not like my (A. hand in hand / B. hand-in-hand) approach.
You may also like: Hands on or Hands-on? (Helpful Examples)
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.