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Home/Common Mistakes/Writing/Hyphens & Dashes/More than one adjective before a noun

More than one adjective before a noun

When we use more than one adjective before a noun, which are one idea, we connect them with a hyphen (-).

  • He is a good-looking man.
    (The meaning is not good man and looking man. The meaning is a man that looks good. They are one idea, so we link the adjectives.)
  • The slow-moving train arrived late.

When the adjectives before the noun are different ideas, we put a comma between them.

  • The furry, black cat.
    (The meaning is that the cat is furry, and the cat is black.)

When the adjectives come after the noun, we don’t use a hyphen.

Compare:

  • The blue-eyed cat has just had a bath.
    (adjectives/ blue-eyed, noun/cat)
  • The cat with blue eyes has just had a bath.
    (noun/cat, adjectives/blue eyes)
  • The slow-moving train arrived late.
  • The train was slow moving so it arrived late.