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How to use adjectives | adjective forms with hyphens

English Grammar | how to use adjectives, hyphenated adjectives, prefixes & adjectives

  • Many university students have a part-time job. ( correct )
  • Many university students have a part time job. ( incorrect )

  • These jobs cannot be done by unexperienced young people. ( incorrect)
  • These jobs cannot be done by inexperienced young people. ( correct )

There are many compound adjectives in English which are usualy hyphenated:
  • good-looking, good-natured, well-known, well-educated, well-paid, well-developed
  • badly-behaved, bad-tempered, ill-equipped, hard-working, easy-going
  • short-lived, short-temepred, short-term, long-term, long-lasting
  • fully-equipped, full-scale, full-size, full-time, part-time, time-consuming, time-saving
Many phrases describing the age, size or length of something are formed in the same way. When they are used before a noun, they are hyphenated:

a six-year old boy     ( He is six years old )
a three-month training course     ( The course lasts three months )
a two-bedroom flat     ( a flat with two bedrooms )

Adjectives are formed using prefixes, especially to describe opposites:

dis- dissatisfied, disorganized
in- inexpensive, inexperienced, inappropriate
im- immoral, immature, impolite
non- nonexistant, non-smiking
over- overcrowded, overpriced
post- post-school, postgraduate
pre- pre-school, prearranged
un- unaware, unsuitable, unemployed

* Some of these adjectivea are spelt with a hyphen and some as one word; check a dictionary for the correct spelling.

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