Hyphenating to a Compound Noun

When you have a compound noun that is separate words and it is being used as an adjective in front of a noun, it is not hyphenated.

…real estate deal…
…social security payment…

When there is a prefix or suffix for the compound noun, hyphenate it to the front or back of the noun; however, do not hyphenate the compound noun.

…post-high school days…
…Los Angeles County-wide ban…

Happy punctuating!

Margie

Awkward Quotes

When someone chooses to switch into quotes after the word that, you just have no choice but to use quotation marks (despite the fact that your trusty English teacher told you never to use quotes after that). There is, however, no comma after the word that because it really doesn’t qualify as “lead-in” words.

…She told me that I had to leave and that “You had better be gone when I get home.”
…I said that the report was late and that “Bring it to me no later than tomorrow at 5:00.”

Happy punctuating!

Margie

Word Pairs — At Last

I am sure you have noticed that I have been absent from here! I am back — as tomorrow morning I finally and at last send the word pairs book to the printer. Even as I am thinking, “What was I thinking when I decided to write another book?” my mind is looking ahead to the next one and trying to decide what it should be!

I have promised my husband that, when he hears the words “I am writing my grammar book,” it will be my swan song. Of course, I have a few plans between now and that final tome.

Information on the word pairs book will be up on the site by the end of the week, and shipping will begin around April 1. The price of the book for the month of April will be $39.95 as an introductory offer. As of May 1, the price will go up to the regular price, which is $42.95. There are education discounts for schools, teachers, and students as well as quantity discounts.

For all of you who preordered, thank you so much. Yours will be shipped first!

Happy punctuating!

Margie

Fractions

The “everyday” fractions — two thirds, three fourths, seven eighths — are written out when they stand alone. They are hyphenated only when they are direct adjectives.

…had an increase of three fourths over the prior year…
…one thirds of them were…

…had a one-fourth decrease in the rate…
…two-thirds majority…

If the fraction is “unusual” or large, use figures.

…was 21/1000 of…
…was 1/400 of an inch…
…had 17/64 drill bit…

If the fraction is with a whole number — that is, a mixed number — use figures.

…was 2 3/4 when I saw it…
…offered a rate of 3 1/3…

Happy punctuating!

Margie