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When is it necessary to use a hyphen in writing a compound word?

Does proper grammar dictate a preference towards using "charged-off" or "charged off" to describe a loan that a financial institution is not going to recover funds for?

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marked as duplicate by MετάEd, Cameron, JSBձոգչ, tchrist, Daniel Oct 4 '12 at 18:12

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Fowler's Modern English Usage has

Composite adjectives when used attributively are usually given hyphens, mostly with good reason.

but later continues with

... combinations of two or more words needing hyphens when used attributively can usually do without them as predicates.

which seems to me to say that you should use the hyphen in a sentence like

The bank manager contacted me about the charged-off loan for my car.

but that you could omit them if the adjective were separated from the noun, like this.

The bank manager told me that the loan for my car had been charged off.

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