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Subject:Re: Which form is correct? From:David J Hancock <dhancock -at- CLARK -dot- NET> Date:Fri, 29 Jul 1994 16:27:30 GMT
: Jane Bergen writes:
: ...but none answer this burning question:
: lower-right corner
: lower right corner
I'm sure that what I'm about to suggest has many exceptions, but ever
since I took freshman English, I've applied a simple test to determine
whether to hyphenate. (Thank you, Dr. Alan Gribben.) The test is
best demonstrated with an example.
"three" "story" "house"
Say the following out loud or in your head:
1. three house # and think, "makes no sense"
2. story house # and think, "makes no sense"
3. OK, I'd better hyphenate it # and think "this beats thinking"
In other words, if the modifiers ("three" and "story" in the example)
don't describe the noun very well when used separately, then you
should hyphenate. If they do describe the noun separately, they you
don't have to hyphenate.
In the real-life example that started this thread:
"lower" "right" "corner"
1. lower corner # Yeah, it's a lower corner
2. right corner # Yeah, it's a right corner, too
3. OK, I don't have to hyphenate
Despite my statement above, this test in NOT a substitute for thinking
or for checking a real reference.