Modifiers restrict or enhance the meaning of a noun, for example, accurate and efficient in accurate, efficient supply planning.

Avoid dangling modifiers, which modify a word or phrase that's not clearly stated within a sentence.

When you design your app, link modules with pages to support your end-to-end process.
When designing your app, your end-to-end process is supported (by zombies) by linking modules with pages.

In the second example, designing is the modifier, but the word it modifies (you) is absent. As a result, the content suggests that it's the end-to-end process that designs the app. (It’s also in the passive voice, which you should try to avoid.)

Compound modifiers

A compound adjective is formed when two or more adjectives modify the same noun (list-formatted line item, hard-coded string). Hyphenate these terms to avoid confusion or ambiguity.

Where a compound phrase includes an adverb ending in -ly, don't hyphenate the phrase. Never hyphenate the word very.


Capitalize the second word in capitalized compound words if it's a noun, proper adjective, or the words have equal weight:

  • Cross-Reference
  • Pre-Microsoft software
  • Read/Write access

Do not capitalize the second word if it's another part of speech or a participle modifying the first word: 

  • How-to
  • Take-off

 See also: Dashes and hyphens

  • Table of contents