I had a dialogue. with someone. They sent something like:

When it comes to work, I like structure and being detail-oriented.

Should I call this a parenthetical phrase or preposition?

I thought hyphens should come only first what they modify, not after.

  • 1
    Your question is unclear. A "hyphen" is this character: [ - ]. The little dash. It does not modify anything; rather it yokes two words into a single modifier. What do you mean by "hyphens may come only first"? detail-oriented functions as an adjective. It means "oriented to details" which means "paying attention to details".
    – TimR
    Aug 11, 2018 at 15:09
  • being is the present continuous of the verb to be. Ussain Bolt likes being fast.
    – TimR
    Aug 11, 2018 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


In your sentence, the first part is an example of an introductory clause.

When it comes to work is a dependant clause that introduces an independent clause. While the independent clause could stand on its own, the introductory clause gives it additional context.

(Even though I thought it was futile), I tried to lift the car on my own.
(Although it wasn't raining), I walked down the street with an open umbrella.
(Because I was depressed), I didn't leave the house all day.

In general, hyphens are used to prevent ambiguity.

She is a foreign-sales secretary.

Here, she is a secretary of foreign sales.

He is a foreign sales-secretary.

Meanwhile, he is a sales secretary who is also foreign.

In compound phrases that modify something, hyphens are generally only used when the compound phrase comes before what it modifies.

I had a half-hour session.
My session was a half hour.

In your example sentence, a hyphen would commonly not be used:

I am a detail-oriented person.
I am a person who is detail oriented.

  • Yes! I thought that. Not sure why they had a hyphen on, detail oriented. I usually look at how they write to get proper grammar, from them; They went to a graduate school.
    – saySay
    Aug 11, 2018 at 19:46
  • Ah, yes. I thought only about phrases. I did not think about clauses. Excellent!
    – saySay
    Aug 11, 2018 at 19:53

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