Phrasal Adjectives Exercise (371)

Sometimes phrasal adjectives require hyphenation; sometimes not. Edit the following sentences to provide hyphens where needed.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: He prides himself on his razor sharp wit, but most people find his remarks rude and unfunny.
Correct : He prides himself on his razor-sharp wit, but most people find his remarks rude and unfunny.

When a phrasal adjective precedes a noun, it usually takes a hyphen.

2.
Original: Many university departments of education are poorly run education mills that turn out unprepared teachers.
Correct : Many university departments of education are poorly run education mills that turn out unprepared teachers.

Phrasal adjectives beginning with an -ly adverb are not hyphenated.

3.
Original: The camp is open to fourteen and fifteen year old girls who want to major in entomology.
Correct : The camp is open to fourteen- and fifteen-year-old girls who want to major in entomology.

When two closely related phrasal adjectives have similar ending elements, remove the ending element from the first phrase and leave the hyphen.

4.
Original: His plan to improve production with the use of dogs was over the top.
Correct : His plan to improve production with the use of dogs was over the top.

A phrase that is hyphenated when it precedes a noun, for example, "an over-the-top plan," is not hyphenated when it follows the verb as a predicate adjective.

5.
Original: The character Tom Bombadil has a larger than life personality.
Correct : The character Tom Bombadil has a larger-than-life personality.

Phrasal adjectives of three or more words are hyphenated; phrasal adjectives that precede a noun are hyphenated.

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