Full time or Full-time? Learn if “Full time” is hyphenated

There’s a question that we come across quite a lot from people trying to learn the English language, and that is: is full time hyphenated? Well, we’re here to look at the answer and when you might use the phrase with and without a hyphen. Is there one way that’s more correct than the other?

Full Time Or Full-Time – Hyphenated Or Not?

“Full-time” is hyphenated when you refer to somebody or something doing the full required time in a job or activity. It’s much more common to come across “full-time” in this hyphenated fashion. However, it is possible to see it without the hyphen in certain situations. You use “full time” when you’re modifying the subject of the sentence, which we’ll get to later.

Is Full Time Hyphenated AP Style?

The AP Style full time hyphen rule suggests that “full-time” should be hyphenated more often than it’s not. If you’re unsure what the rule is, basically, a hyphen is considered a “joiner” that connects two closely linked words. It’s a way of helping the reader understand something by turning two words into one and making a more obvious adjective from it.

Should I Capitalize “Time” In The Word “Full-Time”?

When you’re writing “full-time” as part of a title, you might get a bit stumped when it comes to capitalizing it. Most of the time, people teach you only to capitalize the first letter of each word in a title, but “full-time” is two words combined into one. Does that mean that you capitalize both or just the one? Well, the answer is a little more complicated than that. We’ll start by saying it depends.

There are three main styles that people use to capitalize a title. The first is when only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized. This is a slightly more outdated style, but in this case, you wouldn’t capitalize either “full” or “time.” The second style is where all words are capitalized except for articles, short conjunctions, and short prepositions. In this case, you would capitalize “full” but not “time” as they’re part of the same word.

The last of the three styles is less common but can still work if you like the look of titles this way. Basically, every word in the title is capitalized, whether it’s a noun, article, or something else. In this title, both “full” and “time” are capitalized.

Examples Of When To Use “Full Time”

So, let’s look through some examples now. We know we’ve gone on a lot already about hyphenating “full-time,” but we’d actually like to start with some examples of the unhyphenated version “full time.”

  • He works full time.

Here, we don’t need to hyphenate “full_time” because it isn’t modifying a noun. This is part of the AP rules in the stylebook.

  • That job is full time.

We see no noun modified again so that we can use it with a hyphen.

  • We work full time.

Finally, there is no noun in the sentence meaning that “full-time” is not hyphenated.

If you want to know how it works a little more intricately, know that “time” actually becomes the modified noun in these sentences, and “full” becomes the adjective modifying it.

Examples Of When To Use “Full-Time”

Now we should discuss the more common way to write “full-time.” When we use a hyphen, it’s because we’re modifying a noun, so in many of these examples, you’ll see a noun come directly after the word “full-time,” and it might give you a good idea of how the modification works.

  • He works on a full-time basis.

See here how “basis” is the noun, and “full-time” is modifying it to show it has changed.

  • There are many full-time employees in this company.

In this case, “employees” is the noun that “full-time” is modifying.

  • We only have full-time contracts to offer you.

And lastly, “contracts” is the noun here and “full-time” needs to be hyphenated to modify it.

Alternatives To “Full Time”

If you’re still struggling with hyphenation, then maybe you can use one of these alternatives to help you out!

  • Permanent
  • Around the clock
  • Committed

Quiz – Full Time Or Full-Time?

Let’s finish up with a quick quiz to see what we’ve learned.

  1. I work here (A. full time / B. full-time).
  2. She was fired from her (A. full time / B. full-time) job.
  3. The manager said that it is (A. full time / B. full-time).
  4. He has a (A. full time / B. full-time) hobby.
  5. I only have a (A. full time / B. full-time) contract.

Quiz Answers

  1. A
  2. B
  3. A
  4. B
  5. B