a singer-turned-actress [somebody turned something: hyphens?]

< Previous | Next >


(a) She's a singer turned actress.
(b) She's a singer-turned-actress.

In (a), "turned actress" modifies "singer".
Then, as to (b), which is correct, (1) or (2)?
(1) In (b), "turned- actress" modifies "singer".
(2) In (b), "singer-turned" modifies "actress".

If (1) is correct, why is hyphen is used?

If (2) is correct, is hyphen used in order to make it clear that "singer-turned" modifies "actress"?

Please tell me the difference between (a) and (b).

Thank you in advance.
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    We don't have precise rules about hyphens. You could write it either way. She is a singer who has turned into an actress. It is short for that. Some people might feel that it describes all one thing, so they would hyphenate it. Others just think of it as three words.

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I can't see any reason for using a hyphen in such constructions where a past participle + (-) is used adjectivally after a noun.
    -Face and back blistered raw from the sun, she was admitted to hospital.
    This might be a bad example. I'll see if I can find something better.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    A singer turned actress probably be willing to sing if a role demands it. So she isn't exactly a singer who has metamorphosed into an actress. An actor turned producer is probably still willing to perform if the right role comes along.

    I think the hyphens express this dual function in a similar way to "writer-cum-director", where "-cum-" with hyphens is standard but increasingly avoided for obvious reasons.
    < Previous | Next >