RE: Hyphen in command-line utility?

Subject: RE: Hyphen in command-line utility?
From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: "'Fred Ridder'" <docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com>, "'Sonja McShane'" <sonja -dot- mcshane -at- str -dot- com -dot- au>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 13:19:40 -0800


I offered my opinion on the use of "command line," I posted references to
rules, and I stated my preference. I don't really see the value in trying
to criticize me specifically by commenting against my "logic" and the sites
that I posted. If you have a preference, then post your preference without
the arbitrary criticism. I was not arguing a position that would require
rebuttal, so I do not see the value in you providing criticism.

Industry-wise, "command line" is not generally hyphenated anymore,
regardless of rules that may contradict general usage. "Command line" is
readily understood as a technical term and few people (if any) would be
confused by a lack of hyphenation, especially when hyphens are rarely seen
in the term. Technical communication has apparently survived quite well
without hyphenating "command line," despite the "rules."

I really think that is late in the game to require that a particular
technical term return to following grammatical rules when the term has been
readily accepted without adherence to some rule of hyphenation. "Command
line interfaces" have been around for a very long time in Unix. References
did begin with hyphenation of the term "command-line," but the hyphen has
fallen away, probably in response to the many other hyphens that do appear
in technical communication. It's a weird argument to fight for a return to
a specific usage when preference seems to be a determining factor here and I
merely offered my preference with some reasons as support.



From: Fred Ridder [mailto:docudoc -at- hotmail -dot- com]
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 12:01 PM
To: Lauren; 'Sonja McShane'; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Hyphen in command-line utility?

Lauren wrote (in part):

> Generally, in my experience, "command line" as a term is not hyphenated,
> when it is used as a modifier, I don't see why it would need to be
> hyphenated.

The punctuation convention for a noun phrase has very little to do with
the rules for punctuation of a compound modifier, so I don't buy your
logic here.

> Here's a brief web page about compound modifiers that discusses when to
> a hyphen, A longer web
> page,
> I wouldn't add the hyphen.

Both of the sites you cite are pretty clear about about the basic rule:
Hyphenate a compound modifier when it appears before a noun.
Do not hyphenate a compound modifier when it appears in the predicate.
So unless you are arguing that "command line" used as a modifier is not
a compound modifier, it seems like the hyphen would be prescribed by
both sites.


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RE: Hyphen in command-line utility?: From: Fred Ridder

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