In the sentence:

The cost overrun was due to a higher-than-budgeted consumption of electricity,

should higher-than-budgeted be hyphenated?

It seems to me that it should definitely be hyphenated, given that the phrase is a compound adjective that precedes its noun. However, does that change when the last word is a participle?

  • You're right, it should be hyphenated. There's no special rule for participles
    – gotube
    Jun 24 '21 at 1:05
  • No: it's not a compound word but a syntactic construction so there is no need to hyphenate it.
    – BillJ
    Jun 24 '21 at 6:48
  • 4
  • Hyphenation is effectively a stylistic choice in your exact context. As it happens, two of the first three results returned by a Google Books search for a lower than expected score feature hyphens, but scrolling through more results it's obvious that's misleading. Usually that sequence is not hyphenated - but unless I was constrained to follow some specific style guide that ruled against such hyphenation, I think I might well include them myself. Jun 24 '21 at 15:54
  • Many style guides advise you to hyphenate numerical adjectives before nouns. Although this isn't a numerical adjective, it's close, and so I'd go with the hyphenation. Jun 24 '21 at 20:52

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