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I think I have asked whether it is appropriate or right to spice up verbs that go together(I think they are phrasal verbs) and I think it is Mr. M that said that usually it cannot be done (I think that is what he said.)

How about some typical idimatic expressions like these? Are they OK? Can I do it all the time?

from elementary school -- from first grade elementary shool

by bus -- by brand-new company bus
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Your first example ("from elementary school") is not an idiom. However, if you want to say "from first grade," adding "elementary school" after it makes it completely redundant. That doesn't make any sense.

Your second example is fine, but "by bus" is also not idiomatic. Also, I wouldn't put a hyphen in "brand new."

Do you have any other examples you want to try?
why wouldn't you hyphenate "brand-new"?
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The same reason you don't hyphenate "very good."

Hyphenate when you have nouns that modify other nouns, or when you need to show that two words modifying go "together" and do not each modify the noun.

I am a red car fanatic means I am red, and that I like cars. I am a red-car fanatic means that I have a love of red cars. This is silly example, but the first I could come up with.
Grammar GeekThe same reason you don't hyphenate "very good."

Hyphenate when you have nouns that modify other nouns, or when you need to show that two words modifying go "together" and do not each modify the noun.

I am a red car fanatic means I am red, and that I like cars. I am a red-car fanatic means that I have a love of red cars. This is silly example, but the first I could come up with.
Very can be used with virtually any adjective: very good, very bad, very expensive etc. I don't think brand-old, brand-bad or brand-expensive exist. A hyphenated brand-new is the only spelling Webster's Dictionary recognizes; some British dictionaries offer brand new as well.

Cheers
CB
Unforunately, Google doesn't recognize hyphenation, so I couldn't see if the hyphenated uses were more likely to be BrE, which seems a good possibility.

I can only tell you that NOT using the hyphen is far more common in what I read (AmE) and 100% more common in what I write.
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Thank you.

Can I spice up these phrases I found from my teenager friend's Collins/Cobuild English Learner's Dictionary?

1. I think the phrase is "in service."

phrase: If a machine or vehicle is in personal/private/community??? service, it is being used or is able to be used.

If it is out of regular/personal/community??? service, it cannot be used.

2. The next phrase is "one step."

If you stay one giant/gargantuan step ahead, ...

3. The next phrase is "out of step."

If you are out of one tiny bit of step, ...

Can most or all of the phrases that are listed in most dictionaries as "phrases" accomodate these acts of tweaking?