I'm wondering about the differences between to:

Late file the form


File the form late

Specifically, how can the grammar of the form in A1 below be described? Is an adjective modifying a verb? Is that even possible? Is "late" in "late file" an adverb?

The A2 form (with hyphen) also has many Google hits. Is a hyphen required?

More importantly, why even use A1 (or A2) when A3 seems much more natural word order? Is this simply an idiosyncratic style of legalese that can be ignored for the sake of preferring Plain English? Or is A1 somehow semantically different from A3?

Is this A1 (and A2-A3) word order used for any other adjectives, especially any outside legal contexts?

A1. If you late file the form

A2. If you late-file the form

A3. If you file your the form late

B1. If you timely file the form

B2. If you timely-file the form (I see no Google hits for this version with a hyphen.)

B3. If you file the form timely (Seems totally unnatural.)


1 Answer 1


Most of your examples are not idiomatically correct English.

Here are some correct versions of what you seem to be trying to convey:

  • If you file your form (too) late...
  • If you are late filing the form...

  • If you file your form in time...

  • If you file your form in a timely manner...

IRS.GOV use late-filing and late file which indeed may be legalese:

  • By properly filing this form, a taxpayer will avoid the late-filing penalty.
  • In addition to the deposit penalties, you will also be subject to penalties if you late file your Form

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