Is it problem-solving or problem solving? Hyphenation rules seem to be a little confusing when you’re first picking up a language. Don’t worry, though. They’re not nearly as complicated as the language may have led you to believe!
Problem-Solving Or Problem Solving – Hyphenated Or Not?
When we discuss the problem-solving hyphen rule, we learn that problem-solving is hyphenated when used to modify a noun or object in a sentence. We keep the two words separated when using them as their own noun and not modifying anything else in the sentence.
Examples Of When To Use “Problem-Solving”
Now that we’re into the whole debate of problem-solving vs problem solving, let’s look through some examples of how we can use “problem-solving” with a hyphen. As stated above, we use “problem-solving” when modifying a noun or object in a sentence. It’s the most common way to write “problem-solving.” Even the spelling without a hyphen is slowly being pushed out of common language use!
- This is a problem-solving class.
- I hold a problem-solving position at my workplace.
- My manager put me in charge of the problem-solving accounts.
- They say I have a problem-solving mind.
- We’re known as problem-solving children.
Examples Of When To Use “Problem Solving”
Though much less common to be seen written as a phrase noun, it is still worth mentioning. It’s grammatically correct to use “problem solving” at the end of a sentence or clause without a hyphen. However, as we stated above, many people are beginning to prefer the ease of sticking to the hyphenated spelling, meaning that it’s slowly phasing out of existence even in this form.
- I’m good at problem solving.
- This requires a lot of problem solving.
- We are all trained in problem solving.
- My job asks for problem solving.
- Did you say you were good at problem solving?
Is Problem-Solving Hyphenated AP Style?
Have you had a look through the rules in the AP stylebook before? Even if you haven’t, there’s a good explanation for hyphens there. As we stated above, we use hyphens when linking close words that modify a noun or object in a sentence. They’re used to help a reader better understand what is going on through the modification of the clause.
Should I Capitalize “Solving” In The Word “Problem-Solving”?
The question of “is problem-solving hyphenated” was answered, but now we’ve got a new question. What happens to capitalization rules when we add a hyphen to a title. It depends on your own title choices, so let’s look a little further into the three potential options. The first option capitalizes only the first word and any proper nouns in a title. In this case, neither word in “problem-solving” is capitalized.
The second option capitalizes all words except for short conjunctions, short prepositions, and articles. In this case, you will always capitalize “problem” but always leave “solving” uncapitalized. The final option capitalizes every single word in a title. No matter what, you’ll capitalize both words in “problem-solving” when using this style to write your titles.
Does The Rule Also Apply To “Problem Solver” Vs “Problem-Solver”?
The same rule does apply when we use “problem solver” instead of “problem solving.” However, it’s not often that we’ll see a “problem-solver” modifying a noun or object (unless it’s a problem-solver robot or something). So, it’s most likely you’ll write “problem solver.”
Alternatives To “Problem-Solving”
If you’re still struggling with the hyphen rule of whether it’s problem solving or problem-solving, there’s one last thing we can help you with. We can give you some alternatives that have the same meanings but don’t require a hyphen. This way, you can be safe in your own knowledge without having to worry about getting the rules wrong.
Quiz – Problem-Solving Or Problem Solving?
We’ll finish with a quiz to see how much you’ve learned from this article. The answers are all multiple choice, so you should have a blast with them! We’ll include the answers at the end to reference as well.
- I’ve been told that I’m good at (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving).
- I hold my (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving) skills close to my heart.
- We aren’t great at (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving).
- These are all the best (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving) subjects.
- Can we have a go at a (A. problem-solving / B. problem solving) puzzle?
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.