Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

hyphens: compounds beginning with adverbs

Follow the guidelines below in deciding whether to hyphenate different types of compounds beginning with adverbs.


Do not hyphenate compounds consisting of an adverb or adverbial phrase followed by an adjective, unless there is a danger of misreading:

  • equally productive means
  • a reasonably tall tree
  • an all too complacent attitude


Adverb-plus-participle compounds are among the most troublesome. The use of the hyphen depends in part on the type of adjective and in part on its location.

Adverbs ending in ly

Do not hyphenate adverb-plus-participle compounds in which the adverb ends in ly:

  • richly embroidered
  • fully employed

Other adverbs

If the adverb does not end in ly, hyphenate the adverb-plus-participle compound when it comes before the noun:

  • ever-changing tides
  • far-reaching events
  • ill-educated person
  • well-fed cattle

Do not hyphenate when the compound follows the noun or pronoun and contains a past participle:

  • She is well known.
  • This applicant is ill suited for the job.

When the compound follows the noun or pronoun and contains a present participle, do not hyphenate if the participle has a verbal function, but hyphenate if it is adjectival in nature:

  • The narrative is fast-moving. (adjectival)


  • The narrative is fast moving toward a climax. (verbal)