Would it be:

  1. I'm a cat-person-turned-cat-and-dog-person.
  2. I'm a cat person-turned-cat and dog person.
  3. I'm a cat-person turned cat-and-dog person.
  • In a jocular register, a or c. In a less informal register, you'll need to rephrase. Oct 30, 2013 at 17:27

2 Answers 2


Generally, you hyphenate words that are linked together when you want to make sure the reader knows it's a single subject. So when you hyphenate, just think if it makes sense as a single verb or noun taken out of context.

So the 'best' way to write is...

I'm a cat-person turned into a cat-and-dog-person.

Here's my reasoning:

a) I'm a cat-person-turned-cat-and-dog-person: there are just too many parts, and the 'turned' word nullifies the portion before it. For example, if you were describing a glass of water would you call it an "empty-then-full-glass"?

b) I'm a cat person-turned-cat and dog person. A "person-turned-cat" doesn't sound like a thing, so hyphenation linking those words makes no sense.

c) I'm a cat-person turned cat-and-dog person. "cat-person" works, but a "cat-and-dog" isn't really a "thing", unless you're a mad scientist.


There is no need to use any hyphens at all.

These are not compound adjectives. I understand the desire to keep lexical ideas together, but the sentence's syntax performs that duty.

Sincerly, a rock star turned copy editor.

  • 2
    (This is the correct answer, not the accepted one) Also, you only need to hyphenate compound adjectives when used attributively. Even if these were compound adjectives, you wouldn't hyphenate them as such when used predicatively. e.g. "These free-range chickens are hand fed." vs. "These hand-fed chickens are free range"
    – nohat
    Jan 29, 2015 at 21:41
  • Good point about the adjectives, although I think you'll find numerous dictionaries (Web New World, Web 10) that will naturally hyphenate a verb like "hand-feed."
    – Wm.
    Jan 30, 2015 at 20:54

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