HYPHENATED COMPOUND NOUNS
You will often notice compound nouns formed from either two nouns or phrasal verbs that are hyphenated, especially in newspapers and in the business world. However, these forms are considered less formal and therefore should be avoided in more formal academic writing. Consult a good dictionary to determine whether particular compound forms should be hyphenated.
Compound nouns formed from two nouns
ACADEMIC STYLE JOURNALISTIC wish list
Nouns formed from phrasal verbs
Although phrasal verbs (verb + preposition), such as ‘take off’, ‘take over’ and ‘set up’, are not hyphenated, the nouns formed from these verbs are hyphenated, or with increasing use become written as one word. Thus, the hyphen helps readers to distinguish between the verb and noun forms.
PHRASAL VERB COMPOUND NOUN to set up
to bail out
to pay off
to break in
a set-up (setup)
a bail-out (bailout)
a pay-off (payoff)
Because English lacks clear rules for hyphenating nouns formed from compounds, your best bet is to consult a well-established English dictionary when unsure. In other cases, when dealing with professional terminology, internet search engines, such as Google and www.googlefight.com can be valuable tools.
So far we have examined compound nouns. In the next section, we will look at compound adjectives that function like adjectives before a noun.
Finnish Virtual University / © 2004 Pennington