A compound adjective is a single adjective made up of more than one word (e.g., two-seater aircraft, free-range eggs).|
The words in a compound adjective are often linked together with a hyphen (or hyphens) to show they are part of the same adjective.
Definition of Compound AdjectiveA compound adjective is an adjective that comprises more than one word. Usually, a hyphen (or hyphens) is used to link the words together to show that it is one adjective. For example:
Compound Adjectives from Proper NounsOften adjectives are formed from proper nouns (i.e., the names of things), which should be written using capital letters. In these circumstances, there is no need to group the words together using hyphens. For example:
(Waking the Dead is correct. It is a compound adjective using title case.)
Compound Adjectives with Quotation Marks and ItalicsAlthough a less common practice, it is also possible to group the words in a compound adjective using quotation marks, italics or a combination of the two. (Italics tend to be used for foreign words.)
Adverbs and Compound AdjectivesAs covered in the lesson on adverbs, an adjective is often preceded by a word like very, well, beautifully, or extremely. (These are adverbs.)
Usually, there is no need to link an adverb to an adjective using a hyphen. For example:
Ambiguous AdverbsHowever, with words like well and fast (which are both adjectives and adverbs), a hyphen can be used to avoid ambiguity. For example:
WATCH THOSE CAPITAL LETTERS
The noun does not get a capital letter unless it is part of the title.
USE A HYPHEN WITH WELL
The following rule will cover most scenarios:
When preceding an adjective with the adverb well, use a hyphen.
What are adjectives?|
What are adverbs?
What are conjunctions?
What are interjections?
What are nouns?
What are prepositions?
What are pronouns?
What are verbs?
Enumeration of adjectives