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General Writing and Grammar Help/usage of the word "joint venture"

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Question
Dear Ted,
I know that the word "joint venture" can be a noun. Can the word "joint venture" also be an adjective? In other words, is "joint venture" an adjective in the following sentence? And if you use the word as an adjective, does it need a hyphen?
I work at a "joint-venture" company.

Answer
Dear Glen:

This is my first question of 2014!  You should get a prize.

***

I know that the word "joint venture" can be a noun. Can the word "joint venture"
also be an adjective? In other words, is "joint venture" an adjective in the
following sentence? And if you use the word as an adjective, does it need a
hyphen?
I work at a "joint-venture" company.

**** Here is an example:  

The two students decided to do their class project as a joint venture.

In the sentence, "joint" is an adjective modifying the noun "venture."
The two words "joint venture" are NOT considered to be a single word.  They are two
words, an adjective followed by a noun.

However, in your sentence, the structure is different:

The noun "company" is preceded by a compound adjective.  "Joint" and "venture" are combined with the hyphen, and the two words act as one.  Since "joint-venture" modifies the noun "company," the hyphenated words are considered to be ONE adjective.

You do NOT have a "joint company."  Neither do you have a "venture" company.  You DO have a "joint-venture" [adjective] company.  

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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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.

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

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

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