What are general rules for when hyphens are used in words such as "bad-ass" or "well-deserved". Could someone explain what kinds of words/phrases those are?

  • Actually, most dictionaries list badass without a hyphen, and it has been spelled that way for a long time.
    – John Y
    Jul 14, 2021 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


They are hyphenated compound words or hyphenated phrasal verbs

Hyphens in compound words

Hyphens are used in many compound words to show that the component words have a combined meaning (e.g. a pick-me-up, mother-in-law, good-hearted) or that there is a relationship between the words that make up the compound: for example, rock-forming minerals are minerals that form rocks. But you don’t need to use them in every type of compound word.

  • Is there a difference between what kind of compound words they are?
    – user69498
    Mar 20, 2014 at 8:24
  • Please see the link - it describes verbs, nouns, adjectives and phrasal verbs
    – mplungjan
    Mar 20, 2014 at 8:24
  • Your link explains what I need to know. Thank you so much!
    – user69498
    Mar 20, 2014 at 8:30

when you can't finish a word in the same line, you put a - after the first part of the word and continue the rest of the word in next line


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