Consider these three cases:

  1. Here is the up-to-date information.
  2. Mark this information up-to-date.
  3. This information is up to date.

Those are spelled the ways that feel correct to me, but I'm not certain.

The standard rule for hyphenating compound adjectives is that you hyphenate them only if they appear before the noun they modify. By this rule, #2 is incorrect.

But I also found this:

Some established compound adjectives are always hyphenated. Double-check with a dictionary or online. Example: The design is state-of-the-art.

By this rule, #2 is correct and #3 is incorrect, but I'm not sure if this rule applies here. While up-to-date (as well as its counterpart out-of-date, which I'm also concerned with) do appear in the dictionary with hyphens, I'm not sure they fall into the same category as state-of-the-art because they are still grammatical without hyphens, as ordinary prepositional phrases with the prepositions up to and out of. #3 feels correct to me.

In particular, in #2, up-to-date is an object complement, and my instinct says that in this construction it should be hyphenated even though it's after the noun. None of the hyphenation guides I've found include an example with an object complement. Is there any difference in hyphenation between an object complement and any other compound adjective that follows its noun?

  • 1. and 2. are correct. "Up-to-date" is a compound adjective whether used attributively or predicatively. – BillJ Mar 19 at 19:09
  • 1
    @BillJ Are you saying #3 is incorrect? – Sam Kauffman Mar 19 at 19:16
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    Collins does not delve into subsenses, merely indicating (covertly) that the attributive usage should be hyphenated and (overtly) that the predicative usage should be open. Other dictionaries list different senses, which may inform different distributions. To me, 'This information is up-to-date' feels somewhat more acceptable than 'Keep the system up-to-date'. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 19 at 19:35
  • In any event there are contexts in which "state of the art" is properly unhyphenated, namely when it is used as a noun phrase, for example they were unfamiliar with the state of the art. – phoog Mar 19 at 19:37
  • @SamKauffman Yes, "up-to-date" is a compound word, hyphenated. – BillJ Mar 20 at 6:58

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