Should the phrase time consuming hyphenated or not?
In the context I'm using it in, the hyphen seems right.
"Painting the walls with chalkboard paint and providing chalk allows customers to make their mark without creating a time-consuming mess."
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However, there are a few cases where the hyphen may not be appropriate. The phrase "time-consuming" is made up of a noun ("time") and adjective ("consuming"). The Chicago Manual of Style says that these types of compounds are usually hyphenated when they appear before a noun, but not when they come after the noun. For example:
In addition to this, when time consuming is not being used as a compound adjective it should not be hyphenated, for example:
Time-consuming is appropriate because you're using it as an adjective, which is probably what aesking's dictionaries are referring to.
Now, if you used it as a verb, like "Humans merely time consume when they are watching TV," then yeah. That would be more elegant than "consume time" now that I think of it...