English Grammar: Five Star Hotels

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I saw a lot of five star hotels. But in its name there is a grammatical mistake. In this sentence (Five star hotel) the word hotel is noun and the other two words (five and star) are adjective. so we have to hyphen the two words . so the sentence has to be ‘Five-star hotel’. Then why it is not that. please tell me.

Two-part adjectives (such as “two-part”!) are usually hyphenated, so in the example “five-star” it is indeed correct to use the hyphen. Similar examples are:

  • 3-bedroom house
  • two-seater sofa
  • finely-tuned system
  • well-behaved children

Hyphens are used to glue words together to show that they form a unit. However, as spelling is evolving with time, hyphens are omitted more and more often. This usually happens when there is no risk of confusion, when the reader will understand for sure which words in the sentence belong together. This is why you might come across examples of “five star” with no hyphen. It is thought to be understood by the readers, so the writers feel free to drop the hyphen.

If there is a risk of conveying the wrong meaning, it is always necessary to use hyphens. Look at the following examples:

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  • four year-old children
    (meaning four one-year-old children)
  • four-year-old children
    (meaning some children who are four years old)
  • a little used bag
    (a small bag that is used)
  • a little-used bag
    (a bag that has been used just a little)

When you are unsure whether or not to use the hyphen for a certain expression, it is always the best to consult a good dictionary.

If you would like to learn more about compound words (multiple-part words that convey one single meaning), read Are hyphenated words Compound words?

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Hannelise
Hannelise
Guest
6 months ago

I was taught that two-part adjectives are only hyphenated when they appear before the noun, as in ‘five-star hotel’. When the adjective comes after the noun, there is no hyphen: The hotel isn’t exactly five star. Do you agree with this?