I see in some texts a hypen -. Especially while expessing how old somebody is, or how outdated something is. I would like to know if there is a rule on how to use it?

Die 5jährigen Erzählerinnen leisten unter den Bedingungen der formellen Situation folglich strukturell mehr als unter den Bedingungen der informellen Situation.

1 Answer 1


Duden is very clear on this:

The hyphen is correct according to Duden - Numbers in digits that are part of a concatenation have to be connected to the rest of the word using a hyphen.

der 75-prozentige Rum

die 12-jährige Tochter

ein 12-Zylindermotor

ein 8-tägiger Urlaub

Only if the number is connected to a postfix (Nachsilbe) that is not a valid word on its own, the hyphen is omitted:



20%iger Likör

According to this, your example is actually wrong.

  • 1
    See also § 40 (3) and § 41 of the official rules here, here, or here.
    – user9551
    Jul 5, 2016 at 20:50
  • Scientific texts would require a space between 20 and %, since the latter is treated like a unit. However, that space is commonly omitted in everyday writing.
    – Jan
    Jul 6, 2016 at 1:25
  • 1
    Just like in an example given in @Loong first link (§ 44), I would write 12-Zylinder-Motor, because it's a Motor that has 12 Zylinder, and not a Zylindermotor that is somehow 12-fold. Jul 6, 2016 at 12:54
  • @Raketenolli - When I wrote that word, It was actually the single one where I was unsure - You might be correct we need the second hyphen.
    – tofro
    Jul 6, 2016 at 13:13

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