“Brand new” or “Brand-new”? Learn if “Brand new” is hyphenated

Hyphenation rules in English can be tricky at first glance. When we dive a little deeper, though, they will make more sense. Let’s discuss the brand new hyphen rule and ask ourselves, is brand new hyphenated? By the end of this, we’ll see whether we’re supposed to write brand new or brand-new.

Brand new or Brand-new – Hyphenated or not?

We use the hyphen in brand-new when we’re writing it as an adjective and using it to modify a noun in a sentence. The noun can be anything we want it to be; if brand-new modifies it, we use it hyphenated. However, if it’s not used as an adjective and instead as a noun, we would ungroup the words and use “brand new” as two separate words.

Examples of when to use “Brand new.”

So, when we look at brand new vs brand-new, we might scratch our heads at first. Luckily, it’s not tricky to know the differences when we give ourselves some time to familiarize ourselves with examples. Examples are some of the best ways we can learn about new words and meanings with context. We’ll first look at “brand new” without a hyphen and follow up with the hyphen in the next section.

  • The cell phone is brand new.
  • This is brand new to me.
  • I can’t believe how cute he is. He’s basically brand new.
  • I’m brand new to this whole thing.
  • We’re brand new to this school.

There isn’t a noun modified by the phrase “brand new,” so we keep it unhyphenated in each of these cases.

Examples of when to use “Brand-new.”

The hyphenated version is similar but comes with its own rules. Now, we’re going to look at what we mean when it modifies adjectives in a sentence. If we group the two words, it’s because they’re both being used to modify a word. Rather than just saying “new,” we’re deliberately making sure the reader knows they’re “brand-new.”

  • The brand-new cell phones have arrived.
  • We’re brand-new students of this school.
  • I’ve got a brand-new puppy in my house.
  • That’s a brand-new child to love.
  • I can’t find my brand-new console.

Is Brand new hyphenated AP style?

AP Style rules tell us that hyphens are considered “joiners.” They “join” together with two closely linked words to portray an apparent meaning to the reader. So, if the two words modify a noun, they become an adjective that is joined rather than two separate words. Without the hyphen, “brand” is actually the adjective, and “new” is the noun, which would be incorrect when written in a sentence.

However, it’s worth noting that people are phasing out the hyphen closely with developing language rules and exceptions. Now, it’s possible to write “brand new” as an adjective, meaning “brand new student” is acceptable. However, we won’t include that in this article as it’s technically incorrect (according to AP Style).

Should I capitalize “New” in the word “Brand-new”?

In a title, capitalization rules can be tricky to understand. It’s even harder when dealing with a hyphen. Two words become one word, but do we still capitalize everything? Well, luckily, it’s not that hard. Let’s look at the two most popular ways to capitalize in a title and see how you might write “brand-new.”

The first way is to capitalize the first letter of every major word, excluding prepositions, short conjunctions, and articles. In this case, “brand” is capitalized, but “new” is left lowercase. The second way is to capitalize every letter at the start of every word, and in this case, both “brand” and “new” are capitalized. It depends entirely on your personal preference.

Alternatives to “Brand new.”

If you don’t quite understand the hyphenation rule, the safest bet is to find an alternative that doesn’t require a hyphen in the first place!

  • Pristine
  • Unused
  • Fresh
  • Mint
  • New

Quiz – Brand new or Brand-new?

And let’s finish up with a quick quiz to see what you’ve learned throughout this article! You can compare your answers at the end to see how you do!

  1. This car is (A. brand new / B. brand-new).
  2. We are (A. brand new / B. brand-new) students here.
  3. That’s a (A. brand new / B. brand-new) house on the road.
  4. I was a (A. brand new / B. brand-new) addition to the family.
  5. I’ve never felt so (A. brand new / B. brand-new).

Quiz answers

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