Re: Real-world .... as an adjective

Subject: Re: Real-world .... as an adjective
From: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 13:14:50 -0700



----- Original Message -----
From: <dmbrown -at- brown-inc -dot- com>

> The Unifersity of Chicago Press now takes
> the position that they hyphen may be omitted in all cases
> where there is little or no risk of ambiguity or hesitation.

Still, there is nothing anywhere so endlessly debatable to the
pedants, lexicographers, and conscientious communicators alike,
as where to draw the line demarcating the ambiguity divide.

To my mind, this CMS allowance for discretion is in the same vein
as "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." As
liberating as it is for the arbiter, if that role is occupied,
who decides about ambiguity, the fallout of this rule is usually
that the burden shifts to us to know when a compound adjective
has come of age and is no longer ambiguous.

I would choose to be free of the responsibility for arbitering
over ambiguity, and any wrangling for consensus with editors and
other writers about each and every compound/run-together/naive
usage (ex. real-time/realtime/real time).

Just give me a style guide with a controlled vocabulary, and
*poof* -- these problems go away, and Bob's yer uncle.


Ned Bedinger
Ed Wordsmith Technical Communications Co.
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
http://www.edwordsmith.com
tel: 360-434-7197
fax: 360-769-7059



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Follow-Ups:

References:
Real-world .... as an adjective: From: Jon Jacob Jinglehymerschmidt
Re: Real-world .... as an adjective: From: dmbrown

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