I know the question may seem too vague and weird, so let's go right to the example for more clarification:

Scholars ask the-upper-class countries to help the-lower-class in the breakout of the coronavirus.

As you see, I omitted countries after " the-lower-class" so as to be more concise. Now, did I use "the lower class", would it be wrong or it is actually more correct?
Furthermore, I'm not sure whether I can use the-lower-class or its counterparts for countries; therefore, please feel free to rectify it as well, but please don't overlook my main question, which is the first one.

1 Answer 1


You don't need a hyphen after the, just between the two halves of the compound adjective. It makes no difference whether you omit the following noun or not.

However, as you suspect, lower-class is not an appropriate way to describe a nation. Even when I was at school 50+ years ago, the term underdeveloped countries was being replaced by developing countries, as it was regarded as insulting.


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