Is it correct to use the structure noun + hyphen + adjective as a noun? For example, can you say "We innovation-inclined tend to act quickly" or "The technology-inclined always update their devices frequently"?

Thank you!

  • 1
    I'd call them verb-centred compound adjectives. They act as 'fused modifier-heads', where they are understood as "innovation-inclined people" / "technology-inclined people".
    – BillJ
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 17:02
  • ... But, though it would probably be going too far to label any such string as 'ungrammatical', you should not take this as licensing any old D-I-Y example you care to manufacture. 'The sarsaparilla-devoted' might work in tongue-in-cheek popular fiction, but I'd avoid 'the train-interested'. Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 19:02

2 Answers 2


Such nouns are the result of two processes:

  1. Combining a noun and a participle of a verb. The result is an adjective, such as the OP's "innovation-inclined".

  2. Using that adjective, with "the" before it, as a noun. Such a noun is, as BillJ said in a comment to the OP, a fused modifier-head.

To answer the OP's question "Is it correct?": Both processes are correct and the combination of them is correct.

A particular example of such an adjective being used as a noun like that might or might not be acceptable. But if it's not acceptable, that isn't because of any rule saying that such compound adjectives can't be used as nouns that way -- there isn't any such general rule.


Your proposed nominative phrases (both encompassing three words) are, in fact, coinages and should be set off as such, for example, with quotation marks or (at minimum) in Italic font. That said, in less personalized parlance the two word expressions, innovation-inclined and technology-inclined would be taken as adjectival combinations, respectively, each requiring a modified noun: such as, for instance, people and inventors.

We innovation-inclined people tend to act quickly.


The more technology-inclined of inventors always update their devices frequently.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.