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    • Join Date: Dec 2006
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    #1

    Hyphens with nouns as adjectives

    For the life of me I cannot remember the proper grammar rule for the need for hyphens in dealing with linking 2 words to make an adjective. For example,

    Ruby coloured stains mar the wall.

    Vs.

    Ruby-coloured stains mar the wall.

    Thanks so much!!

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    #2

    Re: Hyphens with nouns as adjectives

    Hello Calliope, welcome to Using English!

    I would hyphenate where both components are vital to the adjectival notion, e.g.

    1. A smoky-voiced chanteuse.

    2. A primrose-yellow tie.

    3. A narrow-leaved geranium.

    But I wouldn't hyphenate where the first component modifies the degree, rather than the nature, of the second component:

    4. A pale yellow tie.

    Or where the first component is an adverb:

    5. A beautifully stitched handbag.

    Opinions on hyphens vary greatly, though, so other members may think differently!

    All the best,

    MrP


    • Join Date: Dec 2006
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    #3

    Re: Hyphens with nouns as adjectives

    Whew! That's exactly how I was thinking it worked, when suddenly I had one of those moments of "are you sure you really know this?" Thank you so very much.

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    #4

    Re: Hyphens with nouns as adjectives

    You're welcome!

    I like the screen name, by the way.

    MrP

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Hyphens with nouns as adjectives

    I agree with MrP. I have trouble remembering to add hyphens, but when in doubt I think of 'high-level talks' (which are neither high nor level).

    Some publishers have a house rule about avoiding 'hanging hyphens'. So sticks that have red or white tips are just that - not 'red- or white-tipped sticks'.

    b

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