More on Hyphenation

Margie Wakeman Wells The Hyphen, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

There are some hyphenation questions that fall into a “gray” area.

This is the method I would try when you are in doubt — or maybe when you just want to figure it out.

…sunny breakfast room

First, it is a room. Then, it is a breakfast room. Last, it is a breakfast room that is sunny.

If this works, there is no hyphen.

…large green bug

First, it is a bug. Then, it is a green bug. Last, it is a green bug that is large.

When this works, there is no hyphen.

Some of them are not incredibly clear cut.

…wrongful death claim

First, it is a claim. Then, it is a death claim. Last, it is a death claim that is wrongful.

I, personally, don’t think this one works. It makes more sense to say that it is a “claim” about “wrongful death.” Thus it would be hyphenated: “wrongful-death claim.”

The same with “front-seat passenger.” It is not a “seat passenger” that is “front.” So there is a hyphen.

And, of course, remember that an open compound noun is not hyphenated when it becomes an adjective.

…real estate broker
…high school student
…social security payment

Hope this helps.

Happy punctuating!

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