Hyphenating “Well Thought Out”
The phrase “well thought out” is commonly used to describe something that has been carefully considered or planned. When it comes to hyphenation, there are a few different rules to keep in mind.
Firstly, when “well thought out” is used before a noun, it can either be hyphenated or written as separate words. For example, you can write “a well thought out plan” or “a well-thought-out plan.” Both versions are grammatically correct.
However, if the noun comes directly after the phrase, it should be hyphenated. For instance, you would write “the plan is well thought out” or “the plan is well-thought-out.” This helps to maintain clarity and avoid confusion.
Grammar Guidelines For “Well Thought Out”
According to the Oxford Dictionary and the Cambridge Dictionary, “well thought out” can also be hyphenated. These reputable sources recognize both the hyphenated and non-hyphenated versions of the phrase.
Therefore, it is acceptable to use either form in your writing.
It is worth mentioning that the AP Stylebook provides guidelines for hyphenating compound adjectives when the adverb “well” is added. In line with these guidelines, “well-thought-out” should be used when all the words (well, thought, out) modify the same noun.
This ensures consistency and clarity in writing.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that when using compound adjectives, either all the words should be hyphenated or none of them should be. This principle applies to “well thought out” as well.
Consistency in hyphenation helps maintain a polished and professional writing style.
Dictionaries’ Take On “Well Thought Out”
Both the Oxford Dictionary and the Cambridge Dictionary provide entries for “well thought out” and acknowledge the possibility of hyphenation. This reflects the common usage of the phrase both with and without hyphenation.
The dictionaries serve as reliable sources, giving writers the flexibility to choose between the hyphenated and non-hyphenated forms based on their personal preference or the specific context in which the phrase is being used.
AP Stylebook Recommendations For Hyphenation
The AP Stylebook, widely used by journalists and writers, offers recommendations for hyphenation. According to these guidelines, “well-thought-out” should be used when all the words modify the same noun.
This ensures clarity and coherence in writing. Adhering to established style guidelines can improve the consistency and professionalism of your writing.
Hyphenating Based On Word Order
To determine whether “well thought out” should be hyphenated, consider the word order within the sentence. If the noun follows the phrase, the whole expression should be hyphenated.
For example, “The strategy is well thought out.” On the other hand, if the noun precedes the phrase, it does not require a hyphen. For instance, “A well thought out strategy is key to success.” This rule helps to maintain clarity and prevent confusion for the reader.
Usage In Merriam-Webster And Harrap’s Essential English Dictionary
Both the Merriam-Webster dictionary and Harrap’s Essential English Dictionary provide guidance regarding the usage of “well-thought-out.” They use two hyphens in the expression when it appears before a noun attributively. This reflects a common convention in writing and offers writers a reference point for consistent usage.
The Chicago Manual Of Style And “Well Thought Out”
The Chicago Manual of Style does not provide a specific rule for the hyphenation of “well thought out.” However, it does not prohibit the use of two hyphens in compound adjectives. Therefore, based on the flexibility and lack of specific guidance in the Chicago Manual of Style, the use of two hyphens in “well-thought-out” before a noun is acceptable.
Hyphenating Compound Words With “Well”
“well” as an adverb is often used to form compound adjectives. In general, compounds with modifiers like “more,” “most,” “less,” “least,” and “very” are typically written as separate words unless there is a chance of ambiguity.
This general rule also applies to “well thought out.”
Examples of other hyphenated compounds that follow this rule include “much-needed” and “very well-read.” By maintaining consistency in the hyphenation of compound words, writers can ensure clarity and readability in their work.
Writers can refer to reputable dictionaries and style guides such as the Oxford Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary, AP Stylebook, Merriam-Webster, Harrap’s Essential English Dictionary, and the Chicago Manual of Style to make informed decisions about the hyphenation of “well thought out” and other compound adjectives.