The term part time without a hyphen is an adverb that describes a verb in a sentence. E.g., “She works part time as a nurse.” Furthermore, the hyphenated version, part-time, is an adverb that must describe a noun. E.g., “He has a new part-time job.”
There are essentially two ways to write part time.
First, you can write it without a hyphen, in which case it is an adverb.
For example, in this sentence, the term part time modifies the word studying, so there is no hyphen.
- She is studying Spanish part time at the local college.
However, in the below example, the words part-time describe the type of course. Therefore, there is a hyphen because it is a compound word.
- She is doing a part-time Spanish course at the local college.
Furthermore, the rule listed above is how the Collins Dictionary and AP Style use the term part time. However, the Chicago Manual of Style recommends using a hyphen for part time when it is an adverb or an adjective.
Now that we have seen the basics of using the term part time, please keep reading to learn more about each term and how to use it properly.
When you write the term part time as two words without a hyphen, it is usually an adverb.
The meaning of part time is related to doing something for a limited or reduced number of hours. I.e., the opposite of full time.
When the term part time is an adverb, it must describe a verb or how someone performs it. Once you identify whether that is the case, you will know whether to include a hyphen.
For example, in the sentence below, we can see that part time describes the verb working. Therefore, there is no hyphen.
- Arthur has been working part time at the local bakery since he retired.
Furthermore, you do not need a hyphen when part time is a predicate adjective. A predicate adjective is a word that appears after a noun and linking word, such as the verb to be.
- Her new job is part time.
Because of the structure of the above example, you do not need a hyphen. However, changing the word order to a regular compound adjective structure requires a hyphen.
- She found a new part-time job.
The hyphenated term part-time as one word is the correct spelling for when you want to describe nouns.
The grammar rules state that once you identify that it modifies a noun, you should use a hyphen.
For example, the term part-time describes the noun work in this sentence, so we need a hyphen.
- I have been looking for some part-time work in my area.
Also, in the following example, we describe the internship, so we need a dash again.
- He is doing a part-time internship at an investment bank.
In addition, most dictionaries and AP Style follow the rule of hyphenating the adjective and not hyphenating the adverb.
However, the Chicago Manual of Style advises that both forms should be hyphenated, so bear that in mind when following that style.
There are two correct ways to refer to something being part time, and writing the term parttime as one word without a hyphen or space is incorrect for both the adverb and adjective form.
As an adverb, you need to write part time with a space and no hyphen.
- Correct: I am working part time as a dental assistant. (adverb)
- Incorrect: I am working parttime as a dental assistant. (adverb)
While as an adjective, you need to write part-time with a hyphen.
- Correct: I am a part-time dental assistant. (adjective)
- Incorrect: I am a parttime dental assistant. (adjective)
Lastly, we have gathered some more example sentences for you to review. Hopefully, these will make you feel even more comfortable using part time and part-time.
- Lisa has been studying part time while raising her children.
- He plans to transition from working full time to part time in the coming months.
- I’ve noticed that working part time gives me better work-life balance.
- After her recent health issues, her position at the company became part time.
- I was surprised to learn that his role at such a demanding company is part time.
- The teaching position I applied for is part time, which suits my current schedule.
- I’m looking for a part-time assistant to help with administrative tasks.
- She’s interested in taking up a part-time course in graphic design.
- The company offers several part-time internships for students every summer.
- The university has a part-time program for working professionals.
- They are hiring a part-time web developer for their startup.
- Many students prefer taking part-time jobs during the summer break to gain experience.
However, remember that the rules vary from style guide to style guide. If you follow the Chicago Manual of Style, you should always use a hyphen – no matter if part-time is used as an adverb or adjective.