“Proud to be a PSV-fan”

A typical Dutch hyphen, except that this one was big (and I mean BIG) – several metres in length, in the backdrop to a Europa League game.

Where a noun gets stuck in front of another and serves effectively as a descriptor, i.e. an adjective, you don’t need the hyphen. Similar ones seen recently include:

  • a led-light (three errors for the price of one! should be an LED light)
  • your existing ERP-system (ERP system)
  • open the Excel-document (Excel document)

Just one of several forms of Dutch hyphen usage that aren’t the same as English.

Prevalence: very high. A general issue.
Frequency: moderate. People often have a blind spot for this in certain combinations, while getting it right at other times.
Native: no. We’re pretty clumsy with our hyphenation at times, but not this particular trick.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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