When Does "Grown Up" Need a Hyphen?

Grammar tips, Hollywood style.

Mignon Fogarty

When Does

When Does "Grown Up" Need a Hyphen?

Hollywood has a history of messing up punctuation (Two Week's Notice, 40 Year-Old Virgin*, Eight Legged Freaks**), and the movie Grown Ups is no exception. The name needs a hyphen.

"Grow up" is a phrasal verb and does not need a hyphen:

  • Oh, stop being a baby and grow up!

"Grown up" can be the past participle of "grow up," but it can also be a noun or an adjective; when it is, it needs a hyphen:

  • Always hold a grown-up's hand.

  • The grown-ups were whispering in the other room.

Read more about hyphens here

*Hat tip to @CopyCurmudgeon, **hat tip to @verdantgarden


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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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