Hyphenating adjectives and adverbs

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Written by Gwenydd Jones

Translator, translator trainer and copywriter

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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