Hyphenating a Compound Noun

Margie Wakeman Wells The Hyphen Leave a Comment

A compound noun can be one word, hyphenated, or multiple words. You can know the correct form only by looking it up and checking the part of speech.

…bookkeeper, roommate
…sister-in-law, aide-de-camp
…real estate, high school

Whatever the form, it must be maintained in all uses of the word.

…a bookkeeper problem
…an in-law problem
…a real estate problem

It is most important to note that, if the noun is separate words and is a direct adjective, it is NOT hyphenated. It is already a unit, and the original form is maintained.

…social security payment
…White House employee
…high school graduate

Happy punctuating!


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