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Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.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

Compound verbs may be either hyphenated or written solid. The only safe rule is to check your dictionary:

  • freeze-dry
  • mass-produce
  • age-harden
  • spoon-feed
  • bad-mouth
  • extra-bill


  • waterproof
  • downgrade
  • sidetrack
  • proofread

If the infinitive form of the verb (e.g. to air-condition) is hyphenated, retain the hyphen in all other forms, except in the case of certain gerunds (see below):

  • The theatre was air-conditioned.
  • You need an air-conditioning expert.


Hyphenate gerunds formed from hyphenated compound verbs only if they are followed by a noun object:

  • Dry cleaning is the simplest way to clean a sweater.


  • Dry-cleaning the sweater should remove the stain.
  • Air conditioning is sometimes needed in summer.


  • Is air-conditioning the building feasible?