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When writing the sentence "x will hopefully help ease those first day nerves." should "first day nerves" be hyphenated?

For the record I'm referring to nerves had on the first day of starting something.

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Yes!

First-day nerves are nerves that people suffer the first day they do something.

First day nerves could be interpreted as the first occasion on which someone suffered day nerves (as opposed to night nerves or any other nerves).

So the hyphen serves to clarify what you mean (even though the meaning should be obvious to most people without it).

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/punctuation/hyphen

  • In fact, if you were referring to something called "day nerves", you may even consider hyphenating "day-nerves", to form a compound noun and clarify that the adjective first qualifies the entire compound word. – urnonav Jun 22 '18 at 15:32
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"First-day nerves": You are combining first and day to form an adjective. Nerves is the noun and is not part of the compound word you are forming by using hyphens.

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