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When is it appropriate to use a hyphen?

In phrases describing something that has been assigned to someone, should the phrase be hyphenated or not?

He uses a company-assigned phone number.


He uses a company assigned phone number.

What is the rule for similar phrases?

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marked as duplicate by nohat Jul 19 '11 at 19:41

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

The general rule is that adjective phrases (phrases used as adjectives) should be hyphenated. So, yes. – Peter Shor Jul 14 '11 at 14:32
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If the sentence is made clearer by the hyphenation, then it's a good idea.

In a case where you use several adjectives, it may help to identify which are being 'combined'.

For example 'use three two digit numbers' is a little clearer as 'use three two-digit numbers'

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