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

We’ve probably all asked the question before: is “part time” hyphenated? Well, we’re here to look at the answer and when you might use the phrase with and without a hyphen. So, let’s check out part time vs part-time and see which one is more “correct.”

Part Time Or Part-Time – Hyphenated Or Not?

“Part-time” is hyphenated when you refer to something doing less than the full amount of time at a particular job or activity. It is the most common way to say “part-time,” though it is possible to see it without the hyphen. You use “part time” when you’re modifying the subject of the sentence, which we’ll get to later.

Is Part Time Hyphenated AP Style?

When we talk about the part time hyphen rule, it is most common to hyphenate “part-time” as per the AP rules. For those that don’t know, AP style suggests that hyphens are used as “joiners” to connect two similar words to help the reader comprehend something. In this case, “part” and “time” are connected and are used to modify a noun together. When we see the words together, they mean that someone participates in an activity for less than the full amount of time.

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

When you’re writing “part-time” in a title, it’s important to know how to capitalize it at each stage. Thankfully, the answer isn’t nearly as difficult to understand as you might think. Basically, it entirely depends on your own writing style and what you’re more comfortable using. There are three notable styles of capitalizing a title that will change whether you capitalize the “time” in “part-time.”

Firstly, we’ve got the title style that capitalizes the first word and only proper nouns. You’ll see that both “part” and “time” are left lower-case in these titles. Second, we’ve got the titles that capitalize each word except for articles, short conjunctions, and short prepositions. In these titles, you’ll capitalize “part” but leave “time” in lower-case.

Finally, you have the third option of capitalizing every word in the title. These are used less commonly than the other two, but it’s still a valid style that you could opt for if you think it looks better.

Examples Of When To Use “Part Time”

As much as we’ve spoken about hyphenating “part-time,” there are a few exceptions that show it without a hyphenation. We’ll take a brief look at some examples, as well as how it works and what makes it unhyphenated.

  • His job is part time.

Here, we don’t need to hyphenate “part-time” because it isn’t modifying a noun (according to AP rules).

  • She works part time.

Again, there’s no noun modified here, so we don’t hyphenate it.

  • This is part time.

And lastly, no noun in the sentence means that “part-time” is not hyphenated.

Incidentally, in all of these sentences, “time” actually becomes the noun, and “part” is the adjective left to modify it.

Examples Of When To Use “Part-Time”

Okay, so now we’ve looked at the “part time” version with no hyphenation, let’s look at the more common variation with a hyphen. You’ll see why we talk about nouns being required in the sentence to use the hyphen in just a second. If you want an easy distinction, remember the following. Typically, “part-time” is used in the middle of a sentence rather than at the end.

  • He works a part-time job.
  • She’s the only part-time employee in the building.
  • We go there on a part-time basis.

In every example above, “part-time” is used in the middle of the clause, with each one being followed by a noun that it modifies. The first sentence modifies “job,” the second modifies “employee,” and the last one modifies “basis.”

Alternatives To “Part Time”

  • Half-time
  • Irregular
  • Temporary
  • Underemployed

Quiz – Part Time Or Part-Time?

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

  1. We were working there (A. part time / B. part-time).
  2. She was fired from her (A. part time / B. part-time) job.
  3. He works on a (A. part time / B. part-time) basis.
  4. The contract states that it is (A. part time / B. part-time).
  5. I only have a (A. part time / B. part-time) contract.

Quiz Answers

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