3. HyphenationPrintable Version
In general, a pair or a group of words is hyphenated to indicate that the words are taken together as a unit or a single concept. The following notes will explain why there are variations in the way the same words are hyphenated.
Is it part-time or part time? Either could be right — depending on how those words are used in a particular sentence.
Whenever two or more words are used together as a compound adjective and they precede a noun, the cluster of modifiers is hyphenated. Whenever the same cluster functions as some other part of speech, the cluster is NOT hyphenated.
|Examples:||I work part time.
It is a 20-credit-hour program.
He is a part-time student who also works full time.
He works on campus as a clerical assistant.
It is tough to find on-campus housing.
Our students are enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Dictionaries show accepted methods of hyphenating commonly used clusters such as round-the-clock, well-known, and long-standing.
**Never hyphenate an adverb before an adjective.**Correct: It is a generally accepted fact.
Incorrect: The federally-funded program has come under scrutiny.
Consult a reputable print or online dictionary (such as http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary) when in doubt about whether or not to hyphenate compound nouns such as mother-in-law.