Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Jan 13 2009   2:54PM GMT

Writing for Business – first come, first served or first-come-first-served?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

typing Which is correct?

A limited number of hard copies are available; you can pick them up on a _______________ basis.
a. first-come-first-served
b. first come, first served

Answer: a

Explanation: In this context, the phrase is an adjective modifying “basis” so we hyphenate.

As a standalone sentence, the phrase uses the other form: A limited number of hard copies are available. First come, first served.

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