Is It "Previously-Explained Goal" or "Previously Explained Goal"?

 A quick and dirty tip on hyphenation

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

Is It

Chuck B. asked whether he needs a hyphen in the phrase "the previously-explained goal." It's a good question because hyphens are tricky.

You use a hyphen to create a compound adjective before a noun:

  • Blue-streaked cheese

  • Water-soaked man

You don't use a hyphen, though, when one of the two modifiers before the noun is an adverb that ends in "-ly."

  • The previously explained goal

  • Happily soaked man

Read more about hyphens here.



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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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