Phrasal Adjectives Exercise (20)

All but one of the following sentences require hyphenation between two or more consecutive words to indicate that the phrase is a phrasal adjective; revise the sentences as necessary:

Answers and Explanations

Phrasal adjectives are strings of two or more words that together modify a noun. When a phrasal adjective precedes the noun, the component words are generally hyphenated to clarify their interrelationship.

1.
Original: It was in my post office box.
Correct : It was in my post office box.

"Post office" is one of many permanent compounds -- noun phrases so well established that confusion is considered unlikely and that are therefore not hyphenated when they combine to modify a following noun. (Permanent compounds are listed in dictionaries.) This sentence is correct.

2.
Original: The project finances construction of energy efficient homes.
Correct : The project finances construction of energy-efficient homes.

This sentence refers to homes that are energy efficient, not efficient homes that are energy.

3.
Original: The figures above reflect cost of living adjustments.
Correct : The figures above reflect cost-of-living adjustments.

Here, the sentence does not pertain to living adjustments and their cost; the phrase "cost of living" modifies adjustments.

4.
Original: She is still developing her expository writing skills.
Correct : She is still developing her expository-writing skills.

Skills in expository writing, rather than writing skills that are expository, are the topic of this sentence.

5.
Original: Images must have high quality resolution.
Correct : Images must have high-quality resolution.

This sentence concerns resolution of high quality, not quality resolution that is high.

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