Hyphens in compound modifiers


What do you think should be done if the noun the phrase is modifying is only implied? For instance:


You'll be finding out how to apply this plan to your day-to-day.


The implied noun that "day-to-day" is modifying is "work" or "job." Would you leave the hyphens in, or change it to:


You'll be finding out how to apply this plan to your day to day.


I realize that this whole issue could be avoided if I added the noun or rearranged the sentence. Please pretend like those are not options.



asked Dec 04 '12 at 22:50 Actually Holly Expert

1 answer


There is, in fact, a rule that covers this. The Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition, 2010, University of Chicago Press) expresses it best at 7.77: "The first place to look for answers is the dictionary."


In other words, before you apply the other rules for compound adjectives, check the dictionary. CMoS recommends Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, which -- in turn -- shows day-to-day as an always hyphenated compound adjective. With that information in hand, there is no need to apply the rules about whether the compound comes before or after the noun.


I hope this helps.

link comment answered Dec 05 '12 at 02:52 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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