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Stupid term, but still: Is it hyphenated or not?

Bob was really happy to have hired Alice; she was an 'A-Player' from the world of private equity and would add a lot to the firm.

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Can you put it in a sentence to give some context for the question? – Phil Aug 1 '11 at 17:30
up vote 4 down vote accepted

"A-Player"--in context of being a top-notch athlete/participant--should be hyphenated. In absence of the hyphen, it would be mistaken for "a player" in the sense of any singular player.

Alternatively, you could quote the 'A,' as in 'A' player. The confusion possible with this method is apparent in the comments on the question itself: it seems to refer to the first in an ordinal set of players, presumably to be followed by 'B' and 'C' players, not a designation that could be applied to all deserving players.

note: The aforementioned comment has been deleted.

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In practice people often quotate it as 'A' Player. Personally I agree with OP in thinking it's a stupid term, which I'd therefore probably quotate as "A player". I think that method can convey a certain disdain for the usage between the quote marks. – FumbleFingers Aug 1 '11 at 17:50
Reference? I would have said the opposite. But I am not providing a reference either. – GEdgar Aug 1 '11 at 17:50
she was an A-Player cannot be mistaken for a player because 1) it is uppercase and 2) there is already an article. – nico Aug 1 '11 at 18:15
I concur with "'A' player" usage; "A-Player" IMHO is American English (indicated by the, IMO, unnecessary hyphenation) and I try to avoid it. Better practise would be to use apostrophes to encompass the 'A' (or the whole 'A player') - that to me signifies it as a generic term for a well-performing individual, particularly as 'player' is likely being used out of context of the rest of the sentence. Having said that, I've never actually heard "A Player", although my friends and I say "bringing <one's> 'A Game'" quite a lot as a running in-joke but which I have also heard in daily life. – Christopher Woods Aug 1 '11 at 18:33
Christopher - Actually, as an American, I'd rather see the quoted A form. This is a school sports reference, where an athletic squad gets divided into an "A team" and a "B team" based on ability (and sometimes a "C team" to hold everyone else). An 'A' player is clearly (to me) someone from the A team. Probably the reason you see it hyphenated is that we had a popular TV show named "The A-Team". – T.E.D. Aug 2 '11 at 14:16

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