Re: "Lower right-hand corner" Yuck!

Subject: Re: "Lower right-hand corner" Yuck!
From: Gwen Gall <ggall -at- CA -dot- ORACLE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 1994 13:17:15 EDT

In-Reply-To: CNSEQ1:TECHWR-L -at- VM1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu's message of 07-28-94 09:35

Beth says:

IF it was correct to say "lower right-hand corner," you're right about
that hyphen. But it's not. I just finished deleting a bunch of
"-hand"s from some documents that were written, obviously, before I
started working here.

I always felt that the hyphen was used to indicate that the first word was
a modifier of the second word. Our Oracle Documentation Handbook discusses
this issue, and does in fact suggest a preference for the fusion of these
compound words, such as checklist, pathname, etc. This is certainly a
reasonable approach for something that has started to become an "entity", or
words that are almost always present together. Others, such as "lower right",
do not warrant this approach, however. I also don't think the one is a
direct modifier, either.

But what about saying "righthand"? "Righthand woman" sounds good to me, and
would also hold true for "lower righthand corner", except that what Beth says
is true: you don't need, or want, the "-hand" in this context.

The Oracle handbook also provides the following tip, which I think bears
passing on in this issue:

"Ensure that hyphenation is a help to communication, not a hindrance. When
in doubt, check if the absence of a hyphen alters the meaning. Some examples:

- a high level table or a high level table

- a state-of-the-art work or [the] state of the artwork

- a foreign-policy adviser or a foreign policy adviser

- a cross-reference or a cross reference

- a hundred-odd people or a hundred odd people"

Hope this sheds light from another angle!

Take care, and may your dog go with you,


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