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Should adjectival phrases that are hyphenated when they modify a noun, e.g. a case-sensitive password, be hyphenated when they are predicate adjectives, e.g. The password is case-sensitive?

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  • Did you mean 'adjectival phrases'? – user52780 Sep 26 '13 at 20:54
  • In any case, the hyphen is on the endangered list already. Only exceptions seem to be where a hyphenated and unhyphenated phrase are defined differently for different usage (technical; rare). – Kris Sep 28 '13 at 14:30
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In Britain, whilst it is 'de rigeur' in Universities to hyphenate adjectival phrases, such as 'a time-honoured custom', 'a quick-witted response', 'an egg-headed professor' etc., there seems to me no such requirement for adjectival predicates, though I tend to do so on an ad hoc basis if it feels right.I would say, if in doubt hyphenate. I don't think one would be criticised for too much hyphenation in this way. At least that seems to be the case in the UK.

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Technically, no, you don't hyphenate predicate adjectives, particularly in this case since there is no ambiguity when those are separated. I would only hyphenate a predicate adjective if the two words in question could mean something other than what I intended when taken separately.

To me this is a style issue rather than grammar; but if it's professional or academic writing, it might matter to your reader(s).

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