WellDeserved: The Importance of Hyphenation in Writing

“Well-Deserved” As Correct Adjective Form With Noun

When it comes to using the phrase “well-deserved” as an adjective to modify a noun, there are a few important aspects to consider. First and foremost, “well-deserved” is the correct form of the adjective when the noun directly follows the phrase.

This hyphenated version ensures the proper link between the words “well” and “deserved,” clarifying their relationship within the sentence.

Hyphen Used To Link “Well” And “Deserved”

The hyphen plays a crucial role in linking the words “well” and “deserved” in the phrase “well-deserved.” Without the hyphen, the meaning may be misunderstood or ambiguous. The hyphenation serves to connect the two words into a cohesive unit, emphasizing that the deserving nature of the noun is a result of the “well” aspect.

Thus, the hyphen in “well-deserved” is vital for effective communication.

“Well Deserved” Acceptable If Noun Not Directly Following

While the hyphenated form “well-deserved” is the preferred choice when the noun directly follows the phrase, the use of “well deserved” without a hyphen is also acceptable in certain instances. Although the hyphen is not present, the meaning is still clear when the noun is not immediately following the adjective.

For example, we can say, “He had a promotion that was well deserved,” where the noun “promotion” is not directly after the phrase.

“Well-Deserved” Slightly More Popular According To Google Ngram Viewer

According to the Google Ngram Viewer, which analyzes the frequency of word usage in publications over time, “well-deserved” is slightly more popular than “well deserved.” This indicates that the hyphenated form is more commonly used in written English. However, both variations are recognized and accepted in the language.

Official Recognition In Cambridge And Oxford Dictionaries

To further solidify the validity of both forms, both the Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries recognize “well-deserved” and “well deserved” as official variations. These authoritative sources acknowledge that both versions are grammatically correct and widely used in English writing.

Therefore, writers can confidently choose either form when constructing their sentences.

Examples: Noun Before And After “Well-Deserved” Phrase

To illustrate the usage of “well-deserved” with the noun placed both before and after the phrase, consider the following examples:

  • “Her award for Outstanding Performance was well-deserved.” Here, the noun “award” directly follows the hyphenated form, emphasizing that the award is truly deserving.

  • “The recognition she received, well deserved as it was, brought tears to her eyes.” In this example, the noun “recognition” appears after the unhyphenated form, yet it still conveys the concept of deservingness clearly.

These examples demonstrate how both variations effectively convey the meaning of deservedness in different sentence structures.

Importance Of Hyphenation For Clarity With Noun Modification

The hyphenation in “well-deserved” serves a vital purpose of clarifying the modification of the noun by the adjective. When “well” modifies “deserved” and directly links to the noun, the hyphen ensures that the connection is evident and unambiguous.

This is of utmost importance in effective writing, where clarity and precision are essential.

Associated Press Style: Hyphenation Required With Noun Directly Following

The Associated Press (AP) Style, a widely recognized style guide for journalistic writing, mandates the use of a hyphen in “well-deserved” when the noun directly follows the phrase. According to AP Style, this hyphenation is necessary to maintain consistency and clarity in writing.

Adhering to the guidelines of AP Style can help writers maintain professional standards, particularly in journalistic and news-related contexts.

Throughout this article, we have explored the nuances and importance of the hyphenated phrase “well-deserved.” Remember that “well-deserved” is not a proper noun, so capital letters are not required for both parts of the phrase. However, if used at the start of a sentence, only the word “well” should be capitalized.

In titles or headings for consistency, both parts of “well-deserved” can be capitalized.

Now that you have a thorough understanding of the proper usage and significance of hyphenation in “well-deserved,” it’s time for a pop quiz! Test your knowledge with the following four questions, and determine if the hyphenation is used correctly in each sentence:

  1. The actress delivered a well deserved performance.

  2. Their hard-earned victory was well-deserved.

  3. The cake was well deserved after a long day.

  4. The team’s victory was welldeserved.

Take a moment to analyze each sentence and decide if the hyphenation is accurate. Once you’re ready, check your answers below:

  1. The actress delivered a well-deserved performance.

2. Their hard-earned victory was well-deserved.

3. The cake was well deserved after a long day.

4. The team’s victory was well-deserved.


Now that you know the correct answers, you can confidently apply the rules of hyphenation to ensure precision and clarity in your writing.

In this blog post, we have explored the ins and outs of hyphenation in the phrase “well-deserved.” Understanding when and why to use the hyphen is crucial for effective communication and maintaining grammatical accuracy. By recognizing the correct forms and considering guidelines from authoritative sources like the Cambridge and Oxford dictionaries, writers can confidently employ this phrase in their written works.

So, remember to hyphenate “well-deserved” to link the words “well” and “deserved” when the noun directly follows. With this knowledge, you can now approach your writing with precision and clarity.

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