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Does man eating need a hyphen

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David Marsh's lifelong mission has been to create order out of chaos. For four decades, he has worked for newspapers, from the Sun to the Financial Times , from local weeklies that sold a few thousand copies to the Guardian , with its global readership of nine million, turning the sow's ear of rough-and-ready reportage into a passable imitation of a silk purse. The chaos might be sloppy syntax, a disregard for grammar or a fundamental misunderstanding of what grammar is. It could be an adherence to 'rules' that have no real basis and get in the way of fluent, unambiguous communication at the expense of ones that are actually useful.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Learn English Punctuation: How to use hyphens with compound adjectives

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A Word, Please: There’s no catch-all guide to hyphens

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The conventional reason for hyphenating words that temporarily work together as a single adjective is to avoid ambiguity. Generations of young writers and editors have been advised by sadder but wiser colleagues that they should swim well clear of a man-eating shark. My question is: how often does the context of a sentence really leave room for significant ambiguity? If the hyphen were removed from the first sentence would readers really be confused? Would they think a man eating a shark had either the ingenuity or perverse desire to attack a surfer at the same time?

In my second paragraph above, many writers would jump on sadder but wiser colleagues and hyphenate sadder-but-wiser with manic satisfaction. Would hyphenation make the sentence more readable? It would take a properly designed survey of actual readers to settle this question which no prescriptive grammarian is ever likely to do , but hyphenation may sometimes make reading more difficult.

For example, when a compound modifier falls at the end of a line of justified type, it might have to be hyphenated again if it runs onto the next line. An extra hyphen can produce grotesqueries that look like this:. Generations of young writers and editors have been advised by sad- der-but-wiser colleagues that they should swim well clear of a man-eating shark.

Editing applications provide ways of fixing a bad break, as copy editors call such ill-placed hyphens, but when every compound modifier must be conscientiously hyphenated, this can consume an unconscionable amount of editorial time, with dubious gains for the reader.

Another problem is that many writers are actually confused about what constitutes a compound modifier. Their typical response is to hurl hyphens into the breaches and hope they fall in the right places. For the record, it should read an year-old man, since man is the noun being described and year-old is the single adjective formed by the preceding words. Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily!

Find a dictionary and use it. For combinations that do not appear in the dictionary, find a style guide and stick to it. LEARN the rules of hyphenation.

Understanding the purpose of the rule, and thinking about whether it is served in a given instance, is important. Every time I hyphenate an adjective, I wonder if I should. Thanks for showing me I have some options and can use my own discretion. Is there a significant difference between them? Love the opening paragraph…. Love this! For the example above, we leave the hyphens in place year-old man. However, let me say this: It is a fact that as we progress from learning to recognize and read individual alphabet letters, then phonemes, then full words and so on, our eyes do a lot of skimming.

Hyphens let you skim. Your eye can see the whole hyphenated phrase as a concept, and your brain will absorb that concept without having to stop on each individual word. The hyphens link the words into a concept, and your mind can understand it faster than if the words were not linked. Otherwise, I think your eye will stop on each word man.

I agree, however, that in some cases the hyphens would be detrimental sadder-but-wiser. People often forget that commas and all the lesser stops, as I would call them have two functions. One of them is clarifying the grammatical functions of major components in a sentence. But the other is rhetorical — drawing attention to an element so that it gains greater emphasis.

The upshot is that either construction can be useful, depending on your intentions. So I hope North American readers will excuse the British spelling and punctuation. For BJ Muntain: Everything you say sounds like good sense.

Introduce hyphens only to avoid ambiguity. Even in a sentence that provided a lot of context, the meaning of these two would have to be clarified if the writer intended a compound modifier. And if you were the copy editor, you might have to ask.

Despite her unfortunate surname, Butcher is anything but. And this less absolutist approach illustrates one of the basic differences between editorial standards on either side of the Atlantic. For a good account of the differences, look for the anthology called The State of the Language, edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels from He argues that the British should become a bit more rigorous and the Americans should learn to relax a little.

Over the last 20 years, in which I have worked in Ireland and California, my experience is that the Irish who use UK standard are just plain lazy about mechanics, while the Americans apparently lose a lot of sleep worrying about consistent style.

The one point on which all the published experts seem to agree is the avoidance of ambiguity in the compound modifier. You have to think about it. I will now use hyphens when using prefixes such as ex and mid. Only momentarily distracted. A small cost to pay for a line of clean, hyphen free English.

Better to make the reader do the work of mentally supplying the logical equivalent of the hyphen than to sully the page with that fussy looking glyph. It spoils the graphic design.

And what exactly would everyone gain from the exercise? OK, I have a theory. If you like math and think writing is primarily a science whose underpinning is a kind of formal logic, you hypyhenate. By Catherine Osborn. Stop making those embarrassing mistakes! Subscribe to Daily Writing Tips today! You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!

You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free! Try It Free Now. The two pieces of advice I would give are: 1. Just my opinion, of course. How do other people handle these?

Thank you for the clarification. Ken on December 08, pm Love the opening paragraph…. Evelyn on December 08, pm Love this! These answers have given me a lot to think about. If only… Over the last 20 years, in which I have worked in Ireland and California, my experience is that the Irish who use UK standard are just plain lazy about mechanics, while the Americans apparently lose a lot of sleep worrying about consistent style.

Thanks, Catherine. Leave a comment: Cancel comment Name required :. Email address required :. Website URL :. Speak your mind :.

A Word, Please: Hyphen the Terrible

I saw a man-eating alligator. We are describing the alligator. What type of alligator is it? It is one that eats men or people.

In general, we use hyphens to avoid ambiguity. A definitive collection of hyphenation rules does not exist; rather, different style manuals prescribe different usage guidelines. In the style guide that I use most frequently— American Medical Association Manual of Style —there are eight pages on the hyphen.

The conventional reason for hyphenating words that temporarily work together as a single adjective is to avoid ambiguity. Generations of young writers and editors have been advised by sadder but wiser colleagues that they should swim well clear of a man-eating shark. My question is: how often does the context of a sentence really leave room for significant ambiguity? If the hyphen were removed from the first sentence would readers really be confused? Would they think a man eating a shark had either the ingenuity or perverse desire to attack a surfer at the same time?

Compound Modifiers: Man-Eating Shark or Man Eating Shark?

Read the following sentence, and try to determine exactly what it means:. He was a man eating shark. Is it a shark that eats humans? Or is it a man who is eating shark meat? The example above is a man who eats shark meat, because there is no hyphen. So what exactly are the rules to using hyphens? Unfortunately, there is no definitive guide for hyphen usage. Different style manuals show different guidelines, and hyphen usage has changed over the years. However, use of the hyphen is still required for compound adjective constructions, the most common use of hyphens.

When to Hyphenate Adjectives

When to hyphenate adjectives or word combinations that act as adjectives has long caused writers confusion. As usual with grammar rules, once you hear the answer and understand the principle, hyphenating compounds turns out to be pretty easy. A compound is a word marriage. Examples are risk-taking daredevil, happy-go-lucky girl, and rain-streaked window. Why do those hyphens belong there?

A hyphen a mechanical tool used to divide and connect separate elements of individual words.

The use of hyphens is called hyphenation. As an orthographic concept, the hyphen is a single entity. In terms of character encoding and display, that entity is represented by any of several characters and glyphs including hard hyphens , soft or optional hyphens , and nonbreaking hyphens , depending on the context of use discussed below. Although hyphens are not to be confused with en dashes and minus signs, there are some overlaps in usage in which either a hyphen or an en dash may be acceptable, depending on user preference; discussed below and in character encoding which often uses the same character, called a " hyphen-minus ", to represent both the hyphen and the minus sign entities; discussed below.

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Which is right: a backup plan, a back-up plan or a back up plan? How about a cutoff date, a cut-off date or a cut off date? A takeout menu, a take-out menu or a take out menu? The answer: There is no answer.

Hyphens are like little screws that hold words together. But hyphens? They all look the same — well, within any specific font, anyway. Here, have a look at the different kinds of hyphens there are. Some match-ups come pre-hyphenated and your dictionary will tell you so. A few are more thought-provoking: do you prefer blood-stained or bloodstained?

Everything you ever wanted to know about HYPHENS but were afraid to ask

Hyphenated compounds usually occur when the writer wants to be clear that the first adjective is modifying the second, not that both adjectives are modifying the noun. If the sentence is written with the adjectives as predicate adjectives, they are often not hyphenated. American English uses fewer hyphenated compound adjectives than British English. It is important to use the hyphens when the meaning might be unclear. Adverbs combined with adjectives, especially adverbs ending in ly , do not get hyphenated. If the compound follows the noun, you generally do not need a hyphen. This is because when it follows the noun, the last adjective remains an adjective, but the first one becomes an adverb. Use a hyphen: Generally, use a hyphen when the two adjectives are working together as a single idea.

(I saw a man who was eating snake meat.) I saw a (I saw a snake who eats men.) If the compound follows the noun, you generally do not need a hyphen.

Her column will run Saturdays. But it probably never occurred to you just how close you were to mortal danger — how just the finest of fine lines was the only thing standing between you and a homicidal monster. Yet as you stood watching the man eating lobster, you were just one little hyphen away from a man-eating lobster. Hyphens can make a huge difference in your meaning. But, truth be told, those situations are rare.

Helpful hyphens

Author: Melanie Silver. Categories: Blog. Compound words are formed when two or more words are put together to form a new word with a new meaning.

Basics Of Punctuation: The Evolution Of The Hyphen

Home When to Hyphenate. Compound adjectives are formed by joining two words e. Further examples include:.

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Тревор Стратмор заключил в своей жизни достаточно сделок, когда на кону были высочайшие ставки, чтобы понимать: Хейл взвинчен и крайне опасен. Молодой криптограф загнал себя в угол, а от противника, загнанного в угол, можно ожидать чего угодно: он действует отчаянно и непредсказуемо. Стратмор знал, что его следующий шаг имеет решающее значение. От него зависела жизнь Сьюзан, а также будущее Цифровой крепости.

Compound Adjectives

А на этот рейс были свободные места. - Сколько угодно, - улыбнулась женщина.  - Самолет улетел почти пустой. Но завтра в восемь утра тоже есть… - Мне нужно узнать, улетела ли этим рейсом моя подруга. Она собиралась купить билет прямо перед вылетом.

Но Стратмор смотрел на молодого сотрудника лаборатории систем безопасности. Коммандер спускался по лестнице, ни на мгновение не сводя с него глаз. Он быстро подошел к ним и остановился в нескольких сантиметрах от дрожащего Чатрукьяна.

Comments: 3
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  3. Nejora

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