Hyphens with adverbs

By Mary Morel

The rules around using hyphens with adverbs are not clear cut.

No hyphen with y and ly adverbs

The basic rule is that a descriptive phrase consisting of an adverb ending in y or ly and an adjective are not hyphenated.

The rationale is that the adverb is modifying the adjective, rather than the two words acting as a single unit.

a very good meal
rapidly declining dollar
gently rocking cradle
highly likely outcome
easily defeated vote

It is common to see other adverbs hyphenated.

well-known scientist

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