RE: Hyphen in "must have" in the predicate?

Subject: RE: Hyphen in "must have" in the predicate?
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: 'Jan Axelson' <jan -at- lvr -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2011 21:30:49 -0700

Jan Axelson wrote:

> Punctuation experts,
> Leaving aside whether there are better ways to say it, which is
> preferable:
> This book is a must have for anyone...
> This book is a must-have for anyone...

The latter. Rearrange a bit, supplying the implied object, to see why.

"This is a must-have book" is good. "This is a must have book" is not so good.

"Must-have" is a compound adjective modifying "book." The hyphen makes that clear. Without it, it's difficult to parse the sentence.


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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Hyphen in "must have" in the predicate?: From: Jan Axelson

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