More Hyphen Stuff…

When a prefix goes with both words in a hyphenated combination, do not add the prefix and make it solid word. Hyphenate the prefix.

…In your opinion, are the non-work-related conditions also disabling to Jane?

When a prefix goes with a compound that is separate words, do not add the prefix to make a solid word. Hyphenate the prefix.

…Please run down your post-high school job experience for me.

Happy punctuating!



Already a Unit = No Hyphen

When the word “dollars” is said and there are numbers above a million with the figure and the word, the dollar sign is used, and the combination is considered to be a unit and uses no hyphen. (NOTE: It is perfectly fine to use all figures for these, though it is probably easier to read in the figure-word combination.)

…They spent $1.2 million for the house.
…It is more than $10 million in loans.

The word “dollars” becomes singular, “dollar,” when this combination is used as an adjective. It is said as “two million DOLLAR loan.” The dollar sign is still used. However, because the combination is already considered to be a unit, there is no hyphen.

…They received a $3 million loan from the bank.
…It is a $1.2 million increase over what we expected.

…It is a $2 million-a-year payment for ten years.

So when a suspension hyphen is needed, it looks like this:

…It is a $10 million- to $20 million-a-year commitment.

Happy punctuating!


“Full-Time” and “Part-Time”

These two words are hyphenated in the dictionary as adjectives and adverbs. However, as we know, the adjective form in the dictionary is the direct adjective form, i.e., the form right in front of the noun. Predicate and appositive adjectives are not hyphenated.

So they are hyphenated as direct adjectives
…full-time job
…part-time position
and as adverbs
…He works full-time.
…We were with him only part-time.
but not as predicate adjectives.
…His job is full time.
…It is only part time.
Happy punctuating!

Adding the Suffix “-wise”

The rule for adding suffixes is to add them directly to the word to form a solid word. The suffix –wise normally follows this rule.

…We placed it lengthwise along the edge.
…Otherwise, he will not be able to complete it.

This suffix, however, gets added to some words where it was never intended: punctuationwise, doctorwise. How do these words look? Are they readable? We may have to hyphenate the –wise ending if readability becomes an issue.

When adding any suffix to a multiple-word compound, it is hyphenated to the last element.

…real estate-wise…
…social security-wise…

Happy punctuating!


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

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!


Hyphenating Adjectives

Remember that the dictionary does not make a distinction for adjectives in regard to hyphenating. The dictionary gives the “direct adjective,” right in front of the noun, form only. So if you look up “long-range,” it is shown as hyphenated. This does not take into account that the RULE says that a predicate adjective is not hyphenated.
…I have long-range plans.
…My plans are long range.

…I have a full-time job.

…My job is full time.
Happy punctuating!


More on Hyphens

Remember that hyphenating words in front of a noun is done to indicate those words form a unit.

…long-range plans…
…old-fashioned ideas…
…five-month-old baby…

When the words are already considered to be a unit, no hyphen is required. This occurs with multiple-word compound nouns.

…real estate transaction…
…social security payments…
…high school diploma…

One trick for hyphens is to test whether the first adjective modifies the combination of the second adjective and the noun. If so, there is no hyphen.

…sunny breakfast room…

First, it is a room; then it is a breakfast room; then it is a breakfast room that is sunny. This equals NO hyphen.

…large green bug…

First, it is a bug; then it is a green bug; then it is a green bug that is large. This equals NO hyphen.

Happy punctuating!


The Prefix “Co-“

The rule is to add the prefix to the front of the word and make a solid word. The prefix “co-” has generally been an exception to this rule and has been hyphenated. I would say that it is “in transition.” That is, it is generally moving toward being made a solid word in many instances.

The problem, as I see it, is that many of the combinations are hard to read.

…He is a codefendant.
…He is a cosponsor.

Fairly ugly!

For the sake of readability, I would continue to hyphenate those that are hard to read.

Happy punctuating!


The Prefix “Re-“

We add a prefix to a word to make a solid word unless there is already a word with that spelling and a different meaning. This occurs most often with the prefix “re-.”

…She promises to work to reform her bad behavior.
…After the merger that occurred, we had to re-form the company.

…I have decided to resign from the board.
…We returned to the bank to re-sign the papers.

A couple of interesting examples along these same lines:

…The books on the shelf seem to just multiply over the months.
…It was a multi-ply board.

…The people unionized in an effort to improve working conditions.
…It was an un-ionized compound.

Happy punctuating!