Why does “life-saving” have a hyphen?

When I listened to a new program, I heard a word “life-saving” and I thought it was life saving without the hyphen.

Medical community is outraged after a life-saving drugs.

I have seen other forms of words that have a hyphen (-) such as fire-proof and two-seater aircraft. How would I exactly know the words that have a hyphen in to avoid my confusion? Is there any grammatical reason behind this?


A common use of hyphens is with words that form a compound adjective, such as, state-of-the-art, life-saving and so on.

There are, however, many rules when and when not to use hyphens. For example, check out a few from this link.

Rule 1. Generally, hyphenate two or more words when they come before a
noun they modify and act as a single idea. This is called a compound

Examples: an off-campus apartment state-of-the-art design

When a compound adjective follows a noun, a hyphen may or may not be

Example: The apartment is off campus.

However, some established compound adjectives are always hyphenated.
Double-check with a dictionary or online.

Example: The design is state-of-the-art.

Rule 2a. A hyphen is frequently required when forming original
compound verbs for vivid writing, humor, or special situations.

Examples: The slacker video-gamed his way through life. Queen Victoria
throne-sat for six decades.

Rule 2b. When writing out new, original, or unusual compound nouns,
writers should hyphenate whenever doing so avoids confusion.

Examples: I changed my diet and became a no-meater. No-meater is too
confusing without the hyphen.

The slacker was a video gamer. Video gamer is clear without a hyphen,
although some writers might prefer to hyphenate it.

Writers using familiar compound verbs and nouns should consult a
dictionary or look online to decide if these verbs and nouns should be

Rule 3. An often overlooked rule for hyphens: The adverb very and
adverbs ending in -ly are not hyphenated.

Incorrect: the very-elegant watch

Incorrect: the finely-tuned watch

This rule applies only to adverbs. The following two sentences are
correct because the -ly words are adjectives rather than adverbs:

Correct: the friendly-looking dog

Correct: a family-owned cafe

Here’s another.

Source : Link , Question Author : PaddyKim , Answer Author : Mamta D

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