And If the Letter-for-Letter Spelling Is Interrupted…

Margie Wakeman Wells The Hyphen 2 Comments

There is a question about the blog from earlier in the week: What happens when the spelling is interrupted or picks up midword?

It is important to remember that the hyphen goes with the letter that follows it, not with the letter in front of it. (Otherwise, there would be a hyphen in front of the first letter of the spelling. Think about it.) So if there is an interruption and the spelling continues, it looks like this:

…My name is Russell, R-u-s-e — -s-s-e-l-l.
…It is Jaffe. That is -f-f-e.

The spelling which is midword starts with a hyphen before the  letter.

Happy punctuating!


Comments 2

  1. Hi Margie:
    I hope it’s okay to ask a question here. This question came up on our scopist’s forum yesterday:

    But here is an example of a sentence where the proofreader is placing commas before the “and’s” where I would not. How would you punctuate the following:
    We open up the medical records and we double check to make sure that those were the patients relative to that subpoena that we requested and we scan them in from the original medical records.

    My understanding is that the proofread is correct and it requires commas between complete sentences. But here is what one fellow posted as a reply:
    Some number of reporters, scopists, proofreaders, and other supposedly astute wordsmiths thoughtlessly use a comma before all independent clauses which begin with a coordinating conjunction (the word “and” in your examples) regardless of content and relationship between subject matter of the clauses. In your example I would not use any commas. Responses will vary and I don’t have time to write a treatise to support what I write here. The words “those” in clause 2 and “them” in clause 3 clearly and unambiguously depend on clause 1, “the medical records,” without which they have no meaning. Ergo commas are incorrect.

    I have never read anything like what he is saying. Is there a rule like that? Is he correct? I hope you will have time to answer and thank you so much if you do. I keep running into this with different court reporters too.

    Mary Anne

    1. Post

      Hi, Mary Anne.

      I just sent you an email reply to this. Let me know whether you have questions.

      Have a lovely day.


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