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I have an information technology terminology which is "rule". each rule consists of a premise, which is the part before the equal sign, and a conclusion, which is the part after the equal sign. Example:

If temperature is low then the weather is cold.

the premise is "temperature is low", while the conclusion is "weather is cold".

My question

I wrote this:

"temperature is low" is the first rule's premise.

should I use a hyphen ("-") between "first" and "rule"?

5

Absolutely not.

What we are looking at here, is a simple pair of adjective + noun.

Grammatically speaking the same pattern as:

  • green shoes
  • dusty attic
  • last winter
  • ...

Therefore: No, there is no hyphen. Your phrase remains as:

"Temperature is low" is the first rule's premise.

  • I agree. If the O.P. found that wording awkward for some reason, this alternative could be used instead: "temperature is low" is the premise of the first rule. But there's nothing wrong with the original, and, as you say, it should not be hyphenated. – J.R. Dec 29 '14 at 11:48

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