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hyphens: compound adjectives

A writing tip on hyphenating various types of compound adjectives
On this page Hyphenate Noun-plus-adjective compounds Noun-plus-participle compounds Noun-plus-gerund compounds Adjective-plus-noun compounds and participle-plus-noun compounds Adjective-plus-participle compounds Adjective-plus-noun-plus-“ed” compounds Preposition-plus-noun compounds Compounds ending in adverbs Compounds containing verbs Compounds of three or more words Compound proper adjectives Compounds containing colours Do not hyphenate Additional information Hyphenate Noun-plus-adjective compounds Hyphenate compounds with the structure noun-plus-adjective, whether they’re used before the noun or after the verb: He bought duty-free goods. / The goods were duty-free. Invest in tax-exempt bonds. / The bonds are tax-exempt. Noun-plus-participle compounds Hyphenate noun-plus-participle compounds regardless of the position: They skied down the snow-capped mountains. / The mountains were snow-capped. This was a time-consuming activity. / This activity was time-consuming. Exceptions: A number of noun-plus-participle compounds, including handwritten and handmade, are written as one word. Noun-plus-gerund compounds Hyphenate two-word compound adjectives consisting of a noun plus a gerund when they come before the noun: the decision-making process a problem-solving approach a profit-sharing plan a tape-recording session Adjective-plus-noun compounds and participle-plus-noun compounds Hyphenate adjective-plus-noun and participle-plus-noun compounds that modify another noun: present-day Derby full-time employment large-scale development special-interest groups working-class neighbourhoods compressed-air engine Also hyphenate adjective-plus-noun and participle-plus-noun compounds when they come after a linking verb (for example, be) and act as an adjective: The development was large-scale. Her position is full-time. But don’t hyphenate when they follow an action verb and they don’t act as an adjective: Development proceeded on a large scale. He works full time. Adjective-plus-participle compounds Hyphenate adjective-plus-participle compounds, whether they’re used before the noun or after it: Taradiddle is an odd-sounding word. / The word is odd-sounding. He was a smooth-talking con artist. / The con artist was smooth-talking. Adjective-plus-noun-plus-“ed” compounds Hyphenate compounds made up of an adjective plus a noun to which the ending -ed has been added, in any position in the sentence: able-bodied many-sided short-handed strong-willed Preposition-plus-noun compounds Hyphenate compound adjectives made up of a preposition and a noun: after-tax income in-service courses on a per-gram basis out-of-province benefits Compounds ending in adverbs Hyphenate compound adjectives that end with an adverb of direction or place (in, out, down, up, etc.) when they precede the noun: a built-up area a drive-by shooting all-out competition the trickle-down theory Compounds containing verbs Hyphenate a compound adjective that contains a finite verb: a pay-as-you-go approach a would-be writer a work-to-rule campaign Compounds of three or more words Hyphenate compound adjectives of three or more words that include an adverb or a preposition and are used before the noun: a long-drawn-out affair an up-to-date approach the cost-of-living index a subject-by-subject analysis on-the-job training Compound proper adjectives Hyphenate compound proper adjectives that form a true compound: the Anglo-Saxon period the Sino-Russian border the Austro-Hungarian Empire Greco-Roman art an Asian-Canadian author But don’t hyphenate those in which a proper adjective is combined with a simple modifier: Latin American governments Middle Eastern affairs North American interests Central Asian republics Compounds containing colours Hyphenate compound adjectives made up of two colours, whether they’re placed before or after the noun: It was covered with blue-green algae. It was blue-green. Hyphenate compound adjectives containing a colour that ends with the suffix -ish only when they precede the noun: The tree had bluish-green leaves. Don’t hyphenate adjectives indicating a specific shade (even if they precede the noun): dark green paint a bright red dress strawberry blond hair Do not hyphenate Don’t hyphenate French or foreign words used as adjectives or placed in italics: a pure laine Quebecker their a priori reasoning a fare bella figura mindset (Note, however, that adjectives already hyphenated in French or foreign languages retain their hyphen in English: avant-garde filmmaking, a laissez-faire approach, etc.) Don’t hyphenate proper nouns used as adjectives: a Privy Council decision a New York State chartered bank Don’t hyphenate words in quotation marks: a “zero tolerance” approach Don’t hyphenate chemical terms used as adjectives: a calcium nitrate deposit a sodium chloride solution Additional information hyphens: compounds beginning with adverbs hyphens: suspended compounds hyphens: nouns with gerunds
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 11,733

Hyphens 1

An English-language quiz on hyphen usage.It's not always easy to decide whether a word needs a hyphen or not. Our quiz will help you out! Select the correct punctuation and/or spelling in each of the following sentences.1. The of these systems often creates problems.inter-dependenceinter dependenceinterdependence2. In the , the UPC bar code was introduced.mid- 1970smid-1970smid 1970s3. Edmund's is always there to help him out.stepmotherstep-motherstep mother4. The novel is set in Toronto in the era.Post-Depressionpost Depressionpost-Depression5. came too soon on Monday morning.Six:thirtySix thirtySix-thirty6. Our signature roast has a velvety body with a aroma.caramel likecaramellikecaramel-like7. In her letters, Daria often asks after monthlybimonthlybi-monthly8. guests attended the reception.Seventy-oddSeventy odd70 odd9. Every time he calls, Stephen has a new tale of woe to .recountre-countre count10. The rice was a perfect accompaniment to the meal.lightly, seasonedlightly seasonedlightly-seasoned  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 10,364

thank you, thank-you

A writing tip explaining the difference between thank you and thank-you.
The spellings thank you and thank-you are both correct, but they have different uses. thank you Without a hyphen, thank you is a verb with a direct object. We use this phrase to show our gratitude to someone: Thank you, Alan, for the lovely lawn mower! I want to thank you, Ms. Krishna, for your valuable help. thank-you With a hyphen, thank-you is either a noun or an adjective. As a noun, it means “a message of thanks”: Mark sent Joan a thank-you for the lava lamp she gave him. As an adjective, thank-you is used before a noun and means “expressing thanks”: I received a thank-you card from my stockbroker.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 9,701

hyphens: prefixes

A writing tip on hyphenation rules for prefixes.
Follow these guidelines when deciding whether to use a hyphen after a prefix. Ex, self, all and quasi Hyphenate nouns or adjectives beginning with the prefixes ex (meaning “former”), self, all and quasi: ex-wife ex-premier Getty self-control self-assured all-inclusive all-powerful quasi-judicial quasi-stellar However, when self is the base word to which a suffix is added, do not hyphenate: selfish selfhood selfsame selfless SI/metric prefixes Write SI/metric unit compounds as one word: centimetre gigagram kilokelvins milliampere Other common prefixes Most words beginning with the following prefixes are written as one word: after, ante, anti, bi, co, counter, de, down, extra, infra, inter, intra, iso, macro, micro, multi, over, photo, poly, post, pre, pro, pseudo, re, retro, semi, stereo, sub, super, trans, tri, ultra, un, under and up. afterthought antecedent antiballistic bimonthly covalent counterclockwise decertify downturn extrasensory infrastructure interstellar intramural isometric macrocosm microscope multistage overestimate photovoltaic polyurethane postnatal preposition proconsul pseudonym readapt retroactive semiquaver stereophonic subspecies supernatural transcontinental triennial ultrasound unassuming underrate upswing upwind However, there are many exceptions. Check the Canadian Oxford Dictionary when in doubt, and see below for three specific types of exceptions. Hyphenate for clarity Use a hyphen when the word following the prefix begins with the same vowel as the one with which the prefix ends or when the compound’s appearance would be confusing without the hyphen: co-opt pre-eminent re-educate semi-invalid co-author de-icing Hyphenate to preserve a difference in meaning In certain cases, use the hyphen to preserve a difference in meaning between the hyphenated and the solid compound: re-cover (cover again) vs. recover (get better, get back) re-create (create again) vs. recreate (take recreation) re-solve (solve again) vs. resolve (settle) re-sign (sign again) vs. resign (quit a job) Hyphenate before proper nouns and adjectives Hyphenate a prefix joined to a proper noun or adjective: mid-July sub-Arctic neo-Christian trans-Siberian pro-Canadian un-American Exceptions: transatlantic, transpacific Chemical terms Hyphenate chemical terms preceded by an italicized prefix: cis-dimethylethylene ß-lactose
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 7,545

compass points

A writing tip about how to write compass points.
(A similar topic is discussed in French in the article points cardinaux.) In writing compass points (or compass directions), follow the guidelines below. On this page Capitalize Do not capitalize Hyphenate Abbreviations Capitalize Capitalize when the compass points refer to part of an address: 150 East Dundas Street 111 King St. West abbreviated directions: winds NNW 28 miles SW of the city informal district names: the Eastern Townships the South Shore specific geographic divisions: the Northwest Territories North Vancouver political or administrative rather than simply geographic divisions: the West Western values Western Europe the East Coast the Far North Northern Ireland Do not capitalize Do not capitalize when the compass points are used as purely descriptive terms: southern exposure the north side of the house as compass directions: Go south four blocks. Drive north to get to the highway. as orientations: a garden to the west of the house We live east of Ottawa. for unofficial geographic divisions: northern New Brunswick the west of Saskatchewan the east coast of Canada Hyphenate Compass points containing two directions are written as one word: northeast southwest Compass points containing three directions are hyphenated: north-northeast west-southwest Abbreviations The list below shows the abbreviations for the 16 compass points. Compass point abbreviations Compass Point Abbreviation north N northeast NE northwest NW north-northeast NNE north-northwest NNW east E east-northeast ENE east-southeast ESE south S southeast SE southwest SW south-southeast SSE south-southwest SSW west W west-northwest WNW west-southwest WSW
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 6,401

hyphens: titles of office

A writing tip on the hyphenation rules for titles of office.
Hyphenate compounds with the endings elect and designate: president-elect minister-designate Hyphenate most titles beginning with the prefix vice: vice-president vice-chairman Exceptions: viceroy, vicereine, viceregal Hyphenate the names of certain military and administrative positions in which a noun is followed by another noun, by an adjective or by a prepositional phrase: Lieutenant-Governor secretary-general aide-de-camp Commander-in-Chief sergeant-at-arms There are, however, many common exceptions to this rule; the following are some examples: Governor General Governor in Council Judge Advocate General Solicitor General Receiver General for Canada Note that in Canadian usage the hyphen is used in compounds designating military ranks such as Lieutenant-General, Vice-Admiral and Rear-Admiral, whereas the American practice is to omit the hyphen. Similarly, the official title of the second-highest-ranking official of the United States is Vice President.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 6,026

hyphens: pre-, post-

A writing tip on the prefixes post and pre.
In most instances, a hyphen is not needed to connect the prefixes pre- and post- to words. Samantha and Rick attended prenatal classes before the birth of their first child. Enrolling in postsecondary education can lead to a brighter future. However, a hyphen is used in the following cases: when the root word starts with a capital: The museum has many trilobites in its Pre-Cambrian fossil collection. Is this an example of pre- or post-World War II architecture? when the root word begins with the same letter as the last letter in the prefix: Dr. Keon is a pre-eminent heart surgeon. Some veterans experience post-traumatic stress disorder. when you add post or pre to a compound: Pre-nineteenth-century art focussed mainly on religious themes. Applicants taking part in the literacy test were given pre‑high school texts to read. when you connect pre or post to numbers: Current fashions mimic pre-1980s styles. The exhibit focussed on the artist’s post-1920s drawings and lithographs.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 4,764

Common errors: “Mother” and its variants

An English quiz in which the user must choose the correct spelling of words and expressions containing the words “mother” and “mom.”The concept of motherhood has made its way into many of our words and expressions. To test your knowledge of expressions relating to the words mother or mom, try our quiz!1. I had no idea that our grew up in the same town, did you?mother-in-lawsmothers-in-lawmother-in-law's2. Whenever I feel stressed, I spend some time with .Mother Naturemother NatureMother nature3. Fire it up, Arthur! Let's take the back to the !mothership; mother landmother ship; mother landmother ship; motherland4. When writing a heartfelt card addressed to your mother, should you capitalize the words "mother" and "mom"?Yes, the words "mother" and "mom" should always be capitalized.Yes, you should, because you are addressing her directly.No, there's never a need to capitalize the words "mother" and "mom."5. If you want to say that something is important or essential to you, you might say it's "like milk to me."mother'smothers'mothers6. What is the correct spelling of the noun that means "a rich or important source of something"?motherloadmother loadmother lode7. Yesterday, I spent time visiting my and my .great-grandmother; stepmothergreat grandmother; step mothergreatgrandmother; step-mother8. Rosa gave up her job to take care of her son Daniel. She is a mom.stay at homestay-at-homestay—at—home9. Which of the following spellings is the British equivalent for "mom"?ma'ammemmam10. What is the correct wording of the proverb that means that inventions are likely to be created in response to a need?Motherhood is the necessity of invention.Invention is the mother of necessity.Necessity is the mother of invention.  
Source: Quizzes on the Language Portal of Canada
Number of views: 4,400

hyphens: numbers and units of measurement

An article on when to use a hyphen with numbers and units of measurement.
Follow the guidelines below in deciding whether to use a hyphen with numbers and units of measurement. Compound numerals Hyphenate compound cardinal and ordinal numerals from twenty-one (twenty-first) to ninety-nine (ninety-ninth) when they are written out: There are twenty-nine members on the committee. Compound adjectives containing a number Hyphenate a compound adjective in which one element is a cardinal or ordinal number and the other a noun: a two-car family a five-kilometre trek a $4-million project a first-class coach a third-rate play an 18th-century novel However, do not hyphenate the compound adjective if the number, written in full, is itself a compound: a two hundred and fifty millilitre flask In cases such as the above, use the abbreviated form (a 250 ml flask) if at all possible. For further information, see numbers in compound adjectives. Number before a symbol Do not hyphenate before a symbol that is not a letter: a 100 °C thermometer a 30% increase Do not hyphenate before a metric unit symbol: a 5 km trail 35 mm film a 100 W bulb Number before a possessive noun Do not hyphenate a possessive noun preceded by a number: one week’s pay 40 hours’ work three weeks’ vacation 10 months’ leave
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 3,766

date: order of elements (Linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau)

A linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau on how to write the date in English and French.
How to write the date in English All numbers The Translation Bureau recommends that a date containing only numbers be written in the following order: year-month-day 2008-03-04 represents March 4, 2008 2008-04-03 represents April 3, 2008 Note: Use a hyphen to separate the elements of the date. Words and numbers The Translation Bureau recommends that a date containing words and numbers be written in the following order: month-day-year January 2, 2008 (not 2 January 2008) How to write the date in French All numbers The Translation Bureau recommends that a date containing only numbers be written in the following order, just as in English: year-month-day 2008-03-04 represents March 4, 2008 2008-04-03 represents April 3, 2008 Note: Use a hyphen to separate the elements of the date. Words and numbers Write the date using the following order: day-month-year le 2 janvier 2008 For a breakdown of the rules for writing the date in French, see the article date (règles d’écriture) (in French only). Additional information For more information on writing a date in numbers, see the article date: numeric.
Source: Writing Tips Plus (English language problems and rules)
Number of views: 3,603