Go to Top

Adjectives and Hyphens: English Vocabulary Lesson

This English vocabulary lesson will help you to remember when to use hyphens with compound adjectives.

Watch the video then do the revision exercises.  If you need more help then read the text below before trying the exercises.

More than one adjective before a noun, which are one idea, we connect them with a hyphen.
No hyphen when it comes after the noun.

‘Snow-white trees cover the mountain.’
(two adjectives, one idea, before the noun, add a hyphen)

‘The trees on the mountain are snow white.’
(two adjectives, one idea, after the noun, no hyphen)

‘The train is going along a snow-covered, ancient, wooden bridge.’
(snow, covered – one idea, with a hyphen, . . .
‘The train is going along a snow-covered, ancient, wooden bridge.’
. . . ancient, wooden, two ideas, no hyphen)

When it is going along the snow-covered railway line it looks powerful.

The blue-eyed cat has just had a bath.
He is a good-looking man.
(The meaning is not good man and looking man. The meaning is a man that looks good. So we link the adjectives)
The slow-moving train arrived late.

When the adjectives come after the noun we don’t use a hyphen.
Compare:
The blue-eyed cat has just had a bath.
The cat with blue eyes has just had a bath.
The slow-moving train arrived late.
The train was slow moving so it 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)

Remember: Before the noun with a hyphen. After the noun no hyphen.

Now do the revision exercises.

 

  • Order of Adjectives
    There is a correct order of adjectives in sentences. (3:30)

    During
    We use during + noun to say when something happens. We don’t write a period of time with it. (2:00)

    Vocabulary Video Lesson: Anger
    This lesson will help you define furious, rage, temper, frustration, outrage, gripe, annoyance, boiling point, tantrum, resentment, bugbear and irritation. (8:00)