Hyphenated Compound Word
- "The two-hundred-year-old trees were impressive".
- "The two hundred-year-old trees were impressive".
- See: Hyphenated Phrase.
- (Wikipedia, 2009) ⇒ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyphen#Joining
- Compound modifiers are groups of two or more words that jointly modify the meaning of another word. When a compound modifier, other than a noun–noun or adverb–adjective combination, appears before a term, the compound modifier is generally hyphenated to prevent any possible misunderstanding, such as in American-football player or real-world example. Without the hyphen, there is potential confusion about whether American applies to football or player, or whether the author might perhaps be referring to a "world example" that is "real". Compound modifiers can extend to three or more words, as in ice-cream-flavored candy, and can be adverbial as well as adjectival (spine-tinglingly frightening).
- When the same combination of words follows the term it applies to, hyphens may or may not be required, depending on whether the compound constitutes an adjective or not. For example: American-football player / a player of American football and real-world example / an example from the real world, since the compounds are not adjectives. Instead, time-sensitive documents / the documents are time-sensitive and left-handed catch / he took the catch left-handed, as the compounds are adjectives. [dubious – discuss]
- Hyphens are not normally used in noun–noun compound modifiers, when no confusion is possible; for example: government standards organization and department store manager. [dubious – discuss]