- How to Form Compound Adjectives?
- When to Use a Hyphen?
Compound adjectives are two or more compound words that act as an adjective, i.e., modify the same noun together.
Operating in a fast-paced work environment can be stressful.
Fast-paced is a compound adjective.
How to Form Compound Adjectives?
Rule 1: Compound adjectives can contain two singular adjectives, but we can also use other parts of speech to form compound adjectives.
Here is an overview of several different types of compound adjectives:
|Parts of Speech||Compound Adjective|
|adjective + noun / noun + adjective||long-distance, short-term / gluten-free, vegan-friendly|
|number + noun||first-time, fifteen-minute|
|adjective + present participle / adjective + past participle||foreign-speaking, fast-growing / double-checked, deep-fried|
|noun + present participle / noun + past participle||eye-catching, self-criticising / sun-kissed, homemade|
|noun + noun||waterproof, round-neck (top)|
|adverb + past participle||overcrowded, sufficiently insulated|
When to Use a Hyphen?
Usually, compound adjectives need hyphens to avoid confusion or ambiguity, but there are also exceptions.
Rule 2: Certain compound adjectives, also known as open or closed compound adjectives, do not need hyphens even when placed before a noun.
He doesn't do pro bono work anymore because it made him feel overworked.
Pro bono is an open compound adjective and overworked is a closed compound adjective.
Rule 3: We use hyphens in compound adjectives that contain numbers.
We're going on a three-day trip.
Three-day is a compound adjective that contains number three, so it needs a hyphen.
Note: If the number comes second in a compound adjective, it doesn't need a hyphen.
My mother has a Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 is a compound adjective that contains number 2, but it doesn't need a hyphen because it comes second.
Rule 4: We always use hyphens in compound adjectives that begin with a comparative or superlative if they come before the nouns they modify.
They only use the highest-quality ingredients in their dishes.
The highest-quality is a compound adjective that begins with a superlative the highest and comes before the noun ingredients, so it needs a hyphen.
Note: When such a compound adjectives comes after the noun it modifies, it doesn't need a hyphen.
The ingredients were of the highest quality.
The highest quality comes after the noun ingredients, so it doesn't need a hyphen.
Rule 5: We don't use hyphens in compound adjectives if they start with adverbs.
You doors and windows should be tightly sealed to avoid drafts.
Tightly sealed is a compound adjective that starts with an adverb tightly, so it doesn't need a hyphen.
Rule 6: We usually use hyphens in multiple-word compound adjectives.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to choosing a career path.
One-size-fits-all is a multi-word compound adjective. By the way, multi-word is also a compound adjective.
Form a compound adjective correctly. She is interested in ___ photography.