well known or well-known

Hello, I have been told that well-known in this context is wrong.

First of all, we deal with an impersonal, well-known in the United States agency (the NTSB) as opposed to an individual or group of individuals.

teacher's explanation: noun missing here; or do you mean “well known” (no hyphen)?



I think 'agency' is the noun, or isn't it?

Context:
Fragment of my essay:
(...) On the other hand, there are some clear indicators of the main political discourse, the language of power, present in the second phrase. First of all, we deal with an impersonal, well-known in the United States agency (the NTSB) as opposed to an individual or group of individuals. The distancing impact of this kind of language also resonates in discursively coherent, typical for political discourse words: call for, nationwide, ban, abbreviations: NTSB, PEDs (National Transportation Board). (...)
 
  • wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    "Well-known-in-the-United-States" might be more correct, but it is quite clumsy as a modifying adjective. It would be better set off in apposition.

    Perhaps your teacher was criticizing the clumsiness of such a long compound adjective?

    Adverbs that end in -ly do not take a hyphen; others (like well, many, first, etc.) do take the hyphen:

    A well-known author, many-faceted book, first-born child...
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    In English such a long adjectival phrase needs to follow the noun it modifies. In your example I think this would still make the sentence clumsy, so probably you need to make a clause: "which is well-known in the United States".
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    As velisarius says, it is not the practice in English to place long adjectival phrases in front of a noun.
    This is probably what your teacher meant when he described it as wrong.

    Many people follow the rule that well-known is not written with a hyphen when it follows a noun (e.g. This actor is well known in the UK).
    However, I think that the rule is better expressed as "well known should be written with a hyphen when it comes before a noun".
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    The problem is the order of the elements in the sentence, which should have been:
    First of all, we deal with an impersonal agency (the NTSB), well known in the United States, as opposed to an individual or group of individuals.

    No hyphen between "well" and "known", since it doesn't precede the noun "agency".
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The problem with the statement in, for example, the Collins dictionary is that it lists adjectives starting with well and for nearly all of them writes e.g. "well-organised (well organised when postpositive)."

    Fair enough. But since there is no need to hyphenate before an adjective with other adverbs (e.g. a widely known building), unless perhaps they are monosyllabic (a so-called cure), this "rule" is questionable, especially as well-known can be regarded as one word.
    So it is really a question of a style recommendation, which is widely followed (including by me).

    Take the AHD Guide to Usage (2005), in which we read:
    "Such a compound is not hyphenated when it follows a noun unless it is appears as a hyphenated compound in the dictionary."

    I find this an extraordinary statement, since no supporting evidence is given. It is like saying "Do this because we say so."
     
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