“Full-Time” and “Part-Time”

These two words are hyphenated in the dictionary as adjectives and adverbs. However, as we know, the adjective form in the dictionary is the direct adjective form, i.e., the form right in front of the noun. Predicate and appositive adjectives are not hyphenated.

So they are hyphenated as direct adjectives
 
…full-time job
…part-time position
 
and as adverbs
 
…He works full-time.
…We were with him only part-time.
 
but not as predicate adjectives.
 
…His job is full time.
…It is only part time.
Happy punctuating!
Margie

Comments 13

  1. So glad to see this rule! How about “I was full-time during the week” OR “I was full time during the week? I think hyphenated in this example?

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      Author

      Dear Nancy,

      I think you are correct. “Full-time” is an adverb here. So it should be hyphenated.

      Have a good day.

      Margie

      1. Hi, Margie! Why would the words be considered a predicate adjective when phrased as “It is only part time” but an adverb as “I was full-time”? I’m struggling to differentiate between the two scenarios.

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          Author

          They are both predicate adjectives. Did I say they were different? Just checking.

          Have a good day.

          Margie

          1. In Nancy’s example, “I was full-time during the week,” “full-time” acts as an adverb. In your example of “It is only part time,” the two words function as a predicate adjective. I’m not quite up to speed on why one is an adverb and the other is a predicate adjective when both are preceded by a linking verb. Is it the prepositional phrase that makes the difference? (I left the prep phrase out of my initial question, and maybe that’s the deciding factor — sorry about that!) I suppose my confusion also applies to “We were with him only part-time”, which I also see as a predicate adjective. Something is simply not clicking in my brain.

            Thanks, Margie!

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            Author

            Dear Elizabeth,

            A predicate adjective has to describe the subject. In “We were…part time,” I don’t think “part time” describes the subject “I.” In the first two examples, it does describe the subject and is therefore a predicate adjective and does not need the hyphen.

            I hope this helps.

            Have a most delightful day.

            Margie

      2. Hi,

        I’m confused about this. I thought when “full time” or “part time” follow a condition verb such as “is” or “was,” you would NOT use a hyphen. Can you help clear up the confusion? Thank you.

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      Author

      In this case, “appositive” describes the position of the adjective, that is, an adjective that comes after the word it modifies.

      …Her husband, tall and good looking, is a model for a clothing company.
      …The meal, light but filling, was served buffet style.

      Hope this helps.

      Margie

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