Do I use hyphens with adjectives? I know adjectives modify nouns, but what is throwing me off are the adjectives that may or may not end a sentence.

For example: Teary-eyed woman vs. she was teary eyed. His method was clear cut vs. He had a clear-cut method.

On terms such as these, which are clearly defined as adjectives, do I hyphenate them when used at the end of the sentence?

1 Answer
Jun 30, 2016

In general hyphens are only used with adjectives when the purpose is to create a "word-unit", that is a composite which would normally be a single word.


You have provided some good examples; so let's look at the first of them:

"Teary-eyed woman"
The hyphen emphasized that this should not be read as "teary, eyed woman" (a woman who was both "teary" and "eyed").

"she was teary eyed"
Here the hyphen is not required since it is unlikely be read as "she was teary, eyed".