Hyphenating adjectives and adverbs

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Written by Gwenydd Jones

Spanish-to-English translator and translator trainer

Test your knowledge of hyphenating adjectives and adverbs. In today’s quiz, they mostly come in the form of adjectival and adverbial compounds before a noun.

Which of these adjectives and adverbs need a hyphen?

  1. He was wearing a long black belt.
  2. She chose a rather ill fitting blouse.
  3. The small greenish blue bag.
  4. A dangerously high ledge.

Scroll down for the answers.

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  1. Correct answer: he was wearing a long black belt. These adjectives independently modify belt, not each other. So, no hyphen is needed.
  2. Correct answer: she chose a rather ill-fitting blouse. Ill modifies fitting. Ill is derived from an adjective and fitting is derived from a verb, so the two words are hyphenated to become a compound adjective.
  3. Correct answer: the small greenish-blue bag. Greenish modifies blue. Both are adjectives and so they must be hyphenated.
  4. Correct answer: A dangerously high ledge. Dangerously is an ­-ly adverb. These types of adverbs aren’t hyphenated in compounds.

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