Sometimes, it can be hard to understand when hyphens should and shouldn’t be used. There are a lot of rules in the English language, and hyphens are no exception to that. Let’s look into how you should be saying “cost-effective,” though, and whether a hyphen is necessary in this case.
Cost Effective Or Cost-Effective – Hyphenated Or Not?
Cost effective is mostly used in a sentence as a standalone noun. Cost-effective is mostly used in a sentence to modify a noun, and it becomes an adjective when hyphenated. Knowing when to use cost effective vs cost-effective doesn’t have to be tricky. Once you understand the basic principles, it actually makes a lot of sense.
Is Cost Effective Hyphenated AP Style?
If you’re unsure about the hyphenation rule in AP style, then let’s talk about it. Basically, AP says that hyphens are “joiners” that combine two closely linked words to form an adjective that you use to modify a noun in a sentence. They are often considered a compound modifier when combined in this manner, and “cost-effective” is no different than this.
Should I Capitalize “Effective” In The Word “Cost-Effective”?
When you’re looking to write “cost-effective” in a title, it can be difficult to know whether you should be capitalizing each word. Some people get a bit worried about capitalizing the last word of the hyphen in a title because it doesn’t feel right. There’s a simple answer to this that most people need to know. Your title styling is entirely personal preference, though there are two main ways people style their own titles.
Firstly, some people capitalize the first letter of the first word and then only any proper nouns. Most of the rest of the title is left in lower-case, which usually includes both parts of the hyphenated words. Secondly, some others capitalize most words in the title, though they’ll leave out short prepositions, short conjunctions, and articles. In this case, the first word, “cost,” is capitalized, but “effective” is left lower-case.
However, you can also capitalize every word in a title if you’d prefer. Some people do this, and it works quite well. It’s in this case that you’ll capitalize both words in “cost-effective.”
Examples Of When To Use “Cost Effective”
It’s not all that common to use “cost effective,” but when you’re using it without it preceding a noun, it makes the most sense to throw it in. However, most people would still hyphenate the word because it looks better, but if you want to know what a non-hyphenated “cost-effective” usage looks like, then you’ve come to the right place.
- Jimmy took the approach that was the most cost effective.
- Michael’s solution to the problem was incredibly cost effective.
- Buying the unlocked phone outright is more cost effective.
As we said, you’ll probably still want to use the hyphen in these cases, but it helps to know what to look for if you don’t. If you’re lost on the rule, always hyphenate “cost-effective.” You’ll always be right if you hyphenate, but you might be wrong if you don’t.
Examples Of When To Use “Cost-Effective”
Let’s look at how we can change the previous examples to show what it would look like to have “cost-effective” hyphenated.
- Jimmy took the cost-effective approach.
- Michael’s incredibly cost-effective solution solved the problem.
- The more cost-effective option is to buy the unlocked phone outright.
Alternatives To “Cost Effective”
Let’s quickly look through a few alternatives to saying “cost-effective.”
This is a formal replacement that is used to show a money-saving option.
Another hyphenated option that shows something is cheap.
A very informal option that should be kept out of a workplace but works well to show something was cheap or affordable.
This one does exactly as it says on the tin.
Quiz – Cost Effective Or Cost-Effective?
- He came up with the most (A. cost-effective / B. cost effective) solution.
- She wasn’t sure which option would be more (A. cost-effective / B. cost effective).
- Jimmy took the most (A. cost-effective / B. cost effective) approach.
- She came up with a perfect solution that was (A. cost-effective / B. cost effective).
- Buying the three-year warranty is more (A. cost-effective / B. cost effective).
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.