RE: ever so OR ever-so

Subject: RE: ever so OR ever-so
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "Morton, Christopher" <CMorton -at- caiso -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "Lisa M. Bronson" <lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 15:57:20 -0500

Chirstopher Morton asked...

> ever so feminine
> OR
> ever-so feminine.
> I cast my vote as no hyphen. I need support. Thoughts??

I agree with you, Chris, and I'll give you an explanation why.

If memory serves, the use of the hyphenated compound adjective is
reserved for times when the removal of the second word would change the
meaning of the first word. I want to say this comes from Strunk & White,
but I'm not entirely certain of the source.

Ex: "knee-jerk reaction." In this instance, if you were to remove the
word "jerk" the phrase "knee reaction" would have a huge difference of
meaning from "knee-jerk reaction."

In the instance you give, "ever feminine" and "ever so feminine" do not
have completely different meanings; the addition of "so" simply adds a
degree to the meaning.

Hope this helps...

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