Here's an example of what I mean:

"It's time for some much needed rest and relaxation."

Or should it be:

"It's time for some much-needed rest and relaxation."

  • 1
    A hyphen is not normally required for adverb-adjective combinations, but you see it a lot anyway. – Robusto May 7 '13 at 15:21

Noun phrases are normally hyphenated when used as adjectives. For example:

These is some oak panels.

This is my oak-pannelled wardrobe.

This is green cotton

This is my green-cotton sweater.

Hence you would say

This is a much-needed holiday.

That being said, English is somewhat relaxed in this regard, and both would be widely understood and are both widely used by English speakers:


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    Sorry, but much is not functioning as an adjective in this sentence, but an adverb. You would not write "This is my very-green sweater," would you? – Robusto May 7 '13 at 15:22
  • No, but then "green" is not a participle. "Much-needed" looks to me like a participle and modifier being combined into an adjective. In that situation we often use the hyphen. You would, for example, write "this is my well-intentioned friend". – MetaEd May 7 '13 at 15:55
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    @MετάEd: So you'd write "sorely-needed" in front of a noun? In AmE we usually leave the hyphen out unless it is sorely needed for clarity. – Robusto May 7 '13 at 16:20
  • @Robusto: With normal adverbs, nobody uses hyphens. On certain special adverbs, however, opinions vary—like much, well, fast, etc., which are perhaps less easily identified as adverbs at first sight. I expect style books to be split (I don't have a problem with either variant myself). – Cerberus_Reinstate_Monica May 7 '13 at 16:28

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