Saturday, 8 June 2013

Hyphenation Woes.

Hyphen rules are about as meddlesome as comma rules.---meaning they are very, very meddlesome.

Most rules about hyphenating have to do with modifying a noun (the adjective or compound adjective before the noun).

Many words we tend to hyphenate could be one closed-up word, so it is always best to check The Chicago Manual of Style Hyphenation Table::

Readability is the main purpose for using the hyphen, and hyphens are used to show structure and pronunciation, Here are a few of the rules:

- No need to hyphenate proper nouns (North America) or ly + adjective compounds before nouns.

                     Example: That is a wonderfully groomed dragon you have there.

- When adjective compounds come after the noun, hyphenation is usually unnecessary.

                      Example: The blue-eyed dragon becomes: The dragon is blue eyed.

- And even for compounds that are hyphenated in the dictionary, such as: ill-humored and well-read---they don’t need to be hyphenated after the noun.

                      Example: That dragon was certainly ill humored.

- Participle (a verbal that functions as an adjective) constructions are hyphenated before but not after the noun.

            Example:: the fire-breathing methods becomes: the methods of fire breathing..

But, age terms should be hyphenated in both noun and adjective forms, except in the last two examples.


The three-year-old dragon

A ninety-nine-year-old dragon king

The dragon king's subjects of seven-year-olds


The dragon prince was nine years old

When he was nine years of age

So, now that we know some of the meddlesome hyphenation rules, lets have a care-free writing session or, a writing session that is care free.

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Illustration by Samantha Kickingbird

copyright, Diane Mae Robinson, 2013