+0

I can't find a source that explains what I thought I understood many years ago. The question deals with joining an adverb and an adjective with a hyphen before the noun, but not afterward:

the freshly-cut lawn smells great ~ the lawn is freshly cut

he is a highly-admired admiral ~ the admiral is highly admired.

Now, someone whom I respect has told me that this is true only with "well":

the well-known actress is crazy ~ the actress is well known for her crazy antics.

Any thoughts from punctuation experts?


1 2
Comments  
Hi Philip

If you google "compound adjectives", you should be able to find a number of sources.
Even Wikipedia has a bit of information:

Scroll down to "Compound Hyphenated Adjectives" and then down to the part headed with
"The following compound adjectives are not normally hyphenated:"


Some additional sources are:
http://www.writersrelief.com/July06.html
http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000127.htm
http://www.spawar.navy.mil/sti/publications/pubs/td/1064/td1064f.html
http://www.getitwriteonline.com/archive/042703.htm

The sites I've found all seem to agree on the matter of hyphenation (none) for an -ly adverb + participial adjective that precede a noun.
I've read that in modern usage, hyphens are not required when adverbs ending in -ly are used with adjectives.

the freshly cut lawn smells great ~ the lawn is freshly cut
he is a highly admired admiral

Another thing I observe is the removal of hyphens, as in the following:

a 4 year old child

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Yoong Liat

Another thing I observe is the removal of hyphens, as in the following:

a 4 year old child
I haven't noticed that at all (except when one of my students makes an error Emotion: wink).
Where have you seen these unhyphenated four-year-olds, YL? I doubt very much that "a 4 year old child" (i.e. unhyphenated) would be accepted in formal writing, and I would also expect to see the hyphens even in informal writing.
Yankee
Yoong Liat

Another thing I observe is the removal of hyphens, as in the following:

a 4 year old child
I haven't noticed that at all (except when one of my students makes an error Emotion: wink).
Where have you seen these unhyphenated four-year-olds, YL? I doubt very much that "a 4 year old child" (i.e. unhyphenated) would be accepted in formal writing, and I would also expect to see the hyphens even in informal writing.
My student took his exam recently and the comprehension passage was taken from the Readers' Digest, an American publication, if I'm not wrong. In the passage was the phrase mentioned above. So I told my student that nowadays the hyphens are disappearing from such phrases. I have seen such a phrase used before in other publications.

The 4 Year Old Child "Energetic" and "imaginative" best describe the 4-year-old. ... The average three and a half year old knows more than 1200 words. ...
www.allthedaze.com/4.html - 23k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this Tests of reading regular and irregular words, pseudowords, homographic heterophones, single sentences and texts were carried out. Performance on a variety ...
tabletpceducation.blogspot.com/2006/08/factoid-hyperlexia-in-4-year-old-child.html - 78k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this
Hi YL

The one example you gave seems to be a headline, and I suppose a headline-writer might want to dispense with the hyphens
since headlines look "cleaner" or "less busy" without multiple hyphens. Headlines tend to minimize and/or eliminate things anyway.
And I can also imagine why an author might decide not to hyphenate "three and a half year old" -- five hyphens in a row is not
something you see very often in English. Emotion: smile

To me, however, these examples seem to reflect specific, individual decisions rather than widespread usage.
.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
I know the AP Stylebook does not hyphenate with an -ly ending adverb.
Hi Amy

My student took his exam recently and the comprehension passage was taken from the Readers' Digest, an American publication. In the passage was the phrase '4 year old child' (not hyphenated). So I told my student that nowadays the hyphens are disappearing from such phrases. I have seen such a phrase used before in other publications.

Let's ignore the website.
Hi YL

Of course I'm familiar with RD -- I've even worked there. Emotion: smile
Without knowing more about the RD excerpt you're referring to, I can't possibly comment on it. I can tell you what
my own observations are and what my own opinion is. And what I can also do is show you plenty of RD articles
containing hyphenated versions (*-year-old):

http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=17847 (scroll down to "A True Fire Story")

http://www.rd.com/content/let-parenthood-strengthen-your-marriage/4 /

http://www.rd.com/content/the-brooke-ellison-story/4/

http://www.rd.com/content/toddler-brain-surgery-miracle/4/

http://www.rd.com/content/christopher-reeve-a-hero-onscreen-and-off/

I did my search directly on the RD website (http://www.rd.com / ) and even though I did not include the hyphens
in my search, hyphenated words were the only versions to be found in the first 5 search results. I didn't feel like
looking at more of the over 350 results because I think the first 5 results are quite representative enough.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Show more