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Clean something up with the machine

  1. cleaned-up car
  2. car-cleaning-up machine
  3. cleaning-car-up machine
  4. cleaned-with-the-machine car

Four are all possible?

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    1. is barely possible. The others will never be idiomatic. Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 4:19
  • Are you looking for “car-cleaning machine”?
    – StephenS
    Commented Oct 20, 2020 at 4:53

1 Answer 1

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You already have a phrasal verb, "to clean up". Your question is about using this in participle form as an adjective.

You can, but you shouldn't. Avoid long complex phrases as adjectives and use real adjectives and relative clauses instead:

cleaned-up car → clean car (slight change in meaning, but often close enough in context)
car-cleaning-up machine → machine that cleans up cars
cleaned-with-the-machine car → a car that was cleaned with the machine

But did you really want to say "carwash"?

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