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General Writing and Grammar Help/Top end of the luxury market


Dear Ted:

Would you please look at the following passage and explain what "top end of the luxury market" means? Shouldn't "top end" be hyphenated?

"There is a misconception that Western companies are good at penetrating the Chinese market," said Frederic Neumann, a senior economist at HSBC. "We see a lot (of penetration) in the auto sector and top end of the luxury market, but if you look at broad Chinese consumption trends, Western companies don't have the cachet" of local Chinese brand names.

Thank you,


Dear Paolo:

"Top end of the luxury market" means the most expensive of the expensive.  These are the highest of the costliest items.  If there are 10 companies that produce expensive automobiles, the top end would be the two or three companies whose cars cost more than all the others.  Rolls-Royce, for example, would be a top end company.

I searched for the term using Google, and I found that it most frequently appears WITHOUT a hyphen:

However, this confidence was not as strong at the top end of the market. In 2011 the top five the top five sales accounted for over $67 million of real estate, compared with a touch over $50 million this year.

These sentences are taken from an article about housing.  The top five houses cost $67 million dollars, an average of $13.4 million dollars each.

Paolo, I am not in the top end of ANYTHING!


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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