Re: Phrasal adjective hyphenation

Subject: Re: Phrasal adjective hyphenation
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2016 17:54:17 -0400

On Thu, 15 Sep 2016 17:39:22 -0400, kafkascampi <kafkascampi -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

I was reviewing a datasheet that had the following heading:

Across the Product Traceability

I argued that it should be Across-the-Product Traceability for ease of
reading and because it is a compound/phrasal adjective. If you don't
hyphenate it, it appears as Across the [Product Traceability] as
opposed to [Across the Product] Traceability.

And if it appeared after the noun, one would not hyphenate it, thus
"Traceability Across the Product". I think that is actually the best
answer.

What say you, grammarians?

I say that you are exceptionally correct. The anti-hyphen crowd at the MLA (or wherever) disagree, and regard the hyphen as some sort of anachronism to be wiped out. I think that eventually they won't even want to distinguish between unionized and un-ionized.

Personally I hate reading material that has been dehyphenated because I have to triple-parse it to get the correct meaning:
1. Read it. It makes no sense.
2. Read it again, regrouping the noun clusters.
3. Read it in its full context, with the correct meaning now established in my brain.

The people who write the original material are not bothered by the opacity because their minds already contain the meaning. They could have written "ATP Tracity" without defining it and they would still understand what they were telling themselves. Indeed, a lot (they probably say alot or allot) of TLA writing looks like that.

If I were tasked with presenting the concept without any hyphens I would write Traceability Across the Product.
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References:
Phrasal adjective hyphenation: From: kafkascampi

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