“Serious bodily injury accident” — Part 1

Margie Wakeman Wells General Leave a Comment

The punctuation of these words occasioned a rather heated discussion on FB that contained a number of misconceptions about the language in general.

First, a note about the “-ly” issue.

Adverbs that end in “-ly” are formed from an adjective:

…recent, recently…
…new,  newly…
…charming, charmingly…
…heavy, heavily…
…steady, steadily…

When one of these “-ly” words combines with another word to form a modifying unit in front of a noun, the combination is not hyphenated.

…recently built condominiums…
…highly touted methods…
…heavily sedated patients…

Having said that, however, I have to go on with the story.

There are over 100 words that end in “-ly” that are NOT adverbs, not forms that come from adding “-ly” to an adjective.

…friendly…
…lovely…
…lively…
…bodily…

These words are most often adjectives.

…friendly dog…
…lively conversation…
…bodily injury…

So the moral of this story is that “bodily injury” does not fall into the “-ly words are not hyphenated” rule.

More to come on this issue.

Happy punctuating!

Margie

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