lately I’ve been seeing a lot of three-word phrases unnecessarily hyphenated. Here’s an example:
Once it’s all said and done, you’ll have peace-of-mind knowing the contents on your computer are protected.
Sorry, those hyphens aren’t necessary. A couple more: inch-by-inch, time-of-day, up-to-date, over-and-over. These would all make fine compound adjectives, but don’t hyphenate them unless they are adjectives! For those hyphens to be correct, the writer of that sentence would need something like:
Once it’s all said and done, you’ll have a peace-of-mind situation knowing the contents on your computer are protected.
Those other examples might be inch-by-inch examination, time-of-day readout, up-to-date message, over-and-over excuses. An exercise: when you see one of these, supply your own noun the adjective phrase to modify. But when they’re by themselves, don’t hyphenate them.