Hyphen rules in the English language can be difficult, and there are plenty of words out there that sometimes need hyphens and sometimes don’t. The decision-making or decision making hyphen rule is no stranger to this, so we’ll discuss it today and how you can learn when to hyphenate it and when to not!
Decision Making Or Decision-Making – Hyphenated Or Not?
Both forms of the phrase are correct, though “decision making” without a hyphen is used mostly as a noun. “Decision-making” with a hyphen is used more commonly as an adjective. However, “decision-making” with the hyphen has slowly started to take over as the noun form, too. Though it’s not technically correct, it’s just more common to see in writing.
Is Decision Making Hyphenated AP Style?
So, now we get to the question is decision making hyphenated AP Style? AP style tells us that hyphens are considered “joiners” between two closely linked words. You only ever use a hyphen between two (or more) words when you want the reader to understand that they are closely related and therefore modifying a noun together rather than as two individual units. It’s one of those rules you have to get used to using, but it’s straightforward once you get the hang of it.
Should I Capitalize “Making” In The Word “Decision-Making”?
Now we get to the slightly more tricky question that is often asked alongside hyphenation questions. What happens when you’re trying to put the hyphenated word in a title? Do you capitalize both words, just one word, or neither of the words? Well, the answer is a little more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no.” We’re going to say it depends and explain what we mean.
Basically, there are three styles of the title you can use in writing. The first is more old-fashioned but features only capitalizing the first word and any proper nouns. In this case, neither “decision” nor “making” are capitalized (unless “decision” is the first word, then it’ll be the only one capitalized). The second style capitalizes all words except for articles and short prepositions. In this case, “decision” is capitalized, but “making” isn’t.
The final form is becoming more popular over time and involves capitalizing every word, whether proper nouns, articles, adjectives, or something else. In this case, both “decision” and “making” are capitalized together.
Examples Of When To Use “Decision Making”
Now let’s look at some examples of when to use decision making vs decision-making. We want to make sure we’re using it without the hyphen when we’re using it as a noun. It’s fairly easy to figure out when you’re doing that. The easiest way to tell is if the words come at the end of a clause or sentence. Though this isn’t the only way they can become a noun, it helps not having anything after them that might be modified.
- We helped them in the decision making.
- Everyone had a role in the decision making.
- I spend more time decision making than anything else.
- Would you please help me with the decision making?
In each of these cases, “decision making” is left unhyphenated and put at the end of a clause. No nouns are being modified, so “decision making” becomes the noun itself.
Examples Of When To Use “Decision-Making”
Let’s see how the hyphenation can change the word to “decision-making” then. In this case, we’ll see nouns come after each of the forms that are modified as we go.
- We helped with the decision-making process.
- The decision-making group is still going.
- I’m in more of a decision-making role.
- I’m not good at the decision-making part.
Alternatives To “Decision Making”
If you’re still struggling to understand the hyphenation rule, there is one final thing you can do. Look for alternatives for the word so that you don’t have to worry about the hyphens at all! We thought we’d recommend you some to use to help you out.
Quiz – Decision Making Or Decision-Making?
And to finish up, let’s see what we’ve learned from the article, shall we? A quick quiz will do the trick!
- We weren’t there for the (A. decision making / B. decision-making) process.
- Why do we always miss the (A. decision making / B. decision-making)?
- Where is the (A. decision making / B. decision-making) group going to be?
- Everyone took part in the (A. decision making / B. decision-making) for this product.
- I’m no good at (A. decision making / B. decision-making).
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.