Compounds that can be nouns or verbs

Compounds that can be either nouns or verbs (eg build-up vs build up) are hyphenated differently depending on their role in the sentence.

Follow the noun or verb rule for these compounds:

  • Set solid when the phrase is a well-established noun; use a hyphen if it is less common.
  • Leave open when the phrase is a verb.

The runoff [noun] caused the flood.     The kitten might run off. [verb]

He did the workout. [noun]     I am sure things will work out [verb]

I got the go-ahead. [noun]     The project will go ahead [verb]

We went through a shake-up. [noun]     She wants to shake up [verb] our processes.

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