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When to hyphenate in English?

One thing that annoys me is when I'm reading a news article or something and the author doesn't hyphenate adjectives, such as "a well-regulated industry" for example.

But if a sentence is worded differently, do we still hyphenate?  For example, in "The industry is well-regulated", is "well-regulated" still an adjective, or is it a verb in the passive voice that doesn't take a hyphen when paired with an adjective?

Another example:  "The newly-minted coins..." versus "The coins were newly-minted / newly minted".  Which one is correct of "The coins were newly-minted / newly minted." ?

4 Answers

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  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

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  • Zirp
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    When the wordparts form one word. A green-house is not a green house

    > in "The industry is well-regulated", is "well-regulated" still an adjective, or is it a verb in the passive voice that doesn't take a hyphen when paired with an adjective?

    well-regulated is an adjective. "regulated well" is a passive participle used as adjective "regulated" paired with an ADVERB "well"

    There is a fashion to drop all hyphens and use spaces instead, but that is not "acceptable". There is a difference between "overdoing things" and "over doing things"

  • 1 month ago

    Basically what @Lili said. Use them when the two words form an adjective, but they are not necessary otherwise.

    Look at these newly-minted coins! (adjective)butThese coins were newly minted in London. (Passive verb)

  • ?
    Lv 4
    1 month ago

    Hyphens are really going by the wayside, which is acceptable, since it is the nature of language to evolve and change over time.

    I generally advise students still to use them in an adjectival phrase preceding a noun, as in "well-regulated industry," but feel that they are not necessary when writing something like "the industry is well regulated," which is essentially a past participle used as an adjective.

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