Re: adjectival phrases

Subject: Re: adjectival phrases
From: Chantel Brathwaite <cnbrath -at- cbel -dot- cit -dot- nih -dot- gov>
To: Robert Smith <robert -at- smith -dot- bc -dot- ca>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 18:02:24 -0400

Robert Smith asks:

> Can anyone clarify the rule(s) for using hyphens in adjectival phrases for
> me? For example,
> Long run planning, or
> Long-run planning?

Chantel answers:

To answer your question, I checked the Little, Brown Handbook (4th Ed, Fowler
and Aaron) -- and this is what it said on page 518 ('Using the hyphen to form
compound words: forming compound adjectives')

"When two or more words serve together as a single modifier before a noun, a
hyphon or hyphens form the modifying words clearly into a unit. Examples: She
is a well-known actor. The conclusions are based on out-of-date statistics.

"When the same compound adjectives follow the noun, hyphens are unnecessary and
are usually left out. Examples: The actor is well known. The statistics are
out of date.

"Hyphens are also unnecessary in compound modifiers containing an -ly adverb,
even when these fall before the noun: Examples: clearly defined terms; swiftly
moving train.

"When part of a compound adjective appears only once in two or more parallel
compound adjectives, hyphones indicate which words the reader should mentally
join with the missing part. Example: School-age children should have eight- or
nine-o'clock bedtimes."

Have a nice weekend!


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