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Hyphens and Compound Nouns

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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Most Not Hyphenated

Most compound nouns are not hyphenated:

master builder fellow employee attorney general

Complete Words

Others have migrated and become complete words, spelled as one word, with no hyphen:

headache checkbook boardinghouse clearinghouse

For variations of these compound nouns, e.g., rest house, reference book, always check the dictionary for proper spelling.

Hyphenated Compound Nouns

Some compound nouns are hyphenated:

vice-president scholar-poet, student-athlete brother-in-law great-granddaughter (hyphenate all great relatives) self-restraint (hyphenate all the -self compounds) one-half president-elect


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