What is a compound adjective?

A compound adjective is a single adjective that is made up of more than one word.

A clue as to whether something is a compound adjective is if the words are linked together by a hyphen (or hyphens). This shows they are part of the same adjective.

Here are some examples of compound adjectives:

  • two-seater aircraft
  • larger-than-life personality
  • sweet-scented lilacs

If you’re unsure whether to use a hyphen in a compound adjective, ask yourself whether the hyphen would help the reader understand the sentence more easily. If so, add one—there is usually no penalty for doing so.


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