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Should the phrase "all new" be hyphenated? Answered

Google hasn't been able to provide a definitive answer yet.  I've seen it hyphenated many times, but by the rules I can seem to find on the subject, they suggest that it probably shouldn't be.  Any grammar whizzes here who can help me out?  The sentence I'm looking at is along the lines of "go look at our all(-?)new website".



Best Answer 6 years ago

It depends on how you are using it.

If you are using "all new" as an adjectival clause, for example, "My marshmallow shooter design is all new," then you do not hyphenate it.

If you are using it as a compound adjective, for example, "Please buy the all-new Trabant turbo 650!" then you do hyphenate it.

See the Chicago Manual of Style for the gory details.

There are arguments both for and against the hyphen. Personally, I'm "for", but the best option is to not use the phrase at all. Not only because of Lemonie's point (measured in internet years, it will only be "new" for the first few hours after it is published), but it also removes the possibility of any objections to your usage of whichever version of the phrase you use.

I didn't write it, but I am responsible for making sure it shows up grammatically correct. By the time it's not new, it will no longer be the point of focus and people will see something else in place of it.

As you're looking at it along the lines of "go look at our all(-?)new website", it's not a phrase that should be used.
Obviously, things don't stay new for long, so it becomes obsolete and meaningless rather quickly. People wouldn't switch to "all-old", "mostly-new", "half-new" etc as the thing aged.


No. If the phrase was "all yellow" or "all blue" or "all dead" you would not hyphenate it. There is no grammatical difference with "all new", so no hyphen.


You're partially right. As a descriptive clause, "My clothes are all new," it shouldn't be hyphenated. Compound adjectives, i.e., when "all new" precedes a noun, like "the all-new Jaguar SJ-6", are conventionally hyphenated.

I have been looking since and ran across the following information which I think finally answers the question:

"Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.

friendly-looking man
(compound adjective in front of a noun)
friendly little girl
(not a compound adjective)
brightly lit room
(Brightly is an adverb describing lit, not an adjective.)"

Given that information, I believe it should in fact be hyphenated.

Yes, that's correct. See my original post (17 Feb 2012 9:49 am) -- which may be caught in the filters because I used a naughty word, though one of Eric's own I'bles :-(

I didn't know hyphenate was a naughty word.


It's not -- unfortunately, those compressed-air power thingies you put marshmallows into are.

I wonder if this is one of those areas where British English and American English have diverged in style? I get the general impression that we right-pondians use hyphens to link words less than you left-pondians.


(yes, I know I just used hyphens :-) )


6 years ago

In the English language, hyphenated words are generally become transitional forms to a new word. For example; data base...data-base...database.
The accepted rule is that when two or more adjectives to a noun are used to convey a single idea, they should be hyphenated. A "high-value target", describes an object that is not necessarily high but very valuable, consequently the words 'high-value' should be linked with the hyphen.
In your example and in the way the words 'all-new' are used, the hyphenated link is correct.
In any case though, the most authoritative source for need of hyphenation is a good, current dictionary.