Part-time or Part time? Learn if “Part time” is Hyphenated

Is it ‘part-time’ or ‘part time’? This is a question that baffles many, but the answer isn’t as complicated as you might think. In English grammar, when two words come together to function as one adjective before a noun, they should be hyphenated. So, it’s correct to write ‘part-time job’, not ‘part time job’. However, there are exceptions and nuances in usage which we’ll discuss throughout this article. Buckle up for an enlightening journey into the world of hyphens!

Understanding the Difference Between Part Time and Part-time

When it comes to writing, little details matter. The use of “Part time” versus “Part-time” is one such detail that can cause confusion. Let’s make it clear.

  • Part time: Used when describing an action or status without directly modifying a noun.
    • I work part time at the bookstore.
  • Part-time: Used as an adjective before a noun.
    • I have a part-time job at the bookstore.
Usage Example
1. Use ‘part time’ when not directly modifying a noun: I am working part time this week.
2. Use ‘part-time’ before a noun: My part-time work schedule allows me more flexibility.


  • If you’re using it as an adjective right before your noun, add that hyphen in!
  • If you’re not directly attaching it to another word, leave out the hyphen!

It’s all about where you place these words in your sentence structure!

When to Use a Hyphen in ‘Part time’

Hyphens are essential for clarity and conciseness. They help avoid ambiguity.

In the case of ‘part time’, you should use a hyphen when it’s functioning as an adjective that precedes a noun. For example:

  • She works part-time.
  • He has a part-time job.

On the other hand, no hyphen is needed when ‘part time’ comes after the verb:

  • She works on a part time basis.
  • He is working part time.

Here’s an easy-to-understand table to illustrate this rule further:

Position Example Correct Usage
Before noun (adjective) I have a job. It is ___. – You fill in: Part Time or Part-Time? Part-Time
After verb (adverb) He works ___. – You fill in: Part Time or Part-Time? Part Time

Remember these rules next time you’re wondering whether to put that little dash between ‘part’ and ‘time’. And always keep your readers from guessing what you mean!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing ‘Part time’

When it comes to writing either ‘part time’ or ‘part-time’, common mistakes often occur. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Using ‘part time’ when you should use the hyphenated form, and vice versa.
    • Examples:
    • Incorrect: I work part-time jobs.
    • Correct: I work part-time jobs.
  • Incorrect placement of the hyphen in ‘part-time’.
    Correct Incorrect
    Part-time job Parttime-job
  • Hyphenating when verb form is used

    Remember, no hyphens are needed if ‘part time’ acts as an adverb.


    She works part time (Correct)

    She works part-time (Incorrect)

Understanding these common pitfalls can help prevent miscommunication and make your writing more professional.

Wrapping Up the Hyphen Debate

In the end, it’s clear that “part-time” should be hyphenated. When used as a compound adjective before a noun, such as in “part-time job”, this rule applies universally. Remembering to use the hyphen can make your writing clearer and more professional.

Sometimes, details like these seem trivial or nitpicky, but they do matter. So next time you’re drafting an email or updating your resume, keep in mind: It’s not just part time; it’s part-time!

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