Compound verbs

Compound verbs can be formed in various ways (eg noun + verb, adjective + verb, verb + verb, adverb + verb).

Compound verbs often do not use a hyphen, unless they are a recent construction or the word would look confusing.

In general, set solid:

  • common verbs formed from a noun + verb
babysit     daydream     giftwrap     spoonfeed
  • compound verbs consisting of a verb + verb
kickstart     stirfry 
  • compound verbs consisting of an adverb + verb
downplay     outclass     overdo     underrate     upscale      

However, use a hyphen for less well-established terms (eg dog-sit) and words where the boundary between 2 parts of the word would otherwise be confusing (eg mass-produce). When in doubt, check your dictionary or style guide.

Tip. See Compounds that can be nouns or verbs (eg go-ahead vs go ahead) for what to do with these compounds.

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