Re: Hyphenation rule of thumb

Subject: Re: Hyphenation rule of thumb
From: Rick Lippincott <RJLIPPINCOTT -at- DELPHI -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 16 Oct 1994 19:37:20 -0400

I have to agree with Erik Harris regarding hyphenation. He wasn't in any
hurry to take hyphenated words and combine them (using real-time as an
example, we would simply change it to realtime). He said that we should use
patience, as the hyphenation can provide clues to the reader regarding the
origin and meaning of the word.

There are also cases where the hyphen can change the words from nouns to
verbs, combining the words would remove this clue.

I've come across dozens of these, but one example is "spot weld" vs.
"spot-weld." One of these word pairs is the -name- of the blob of melted
material binding two pieces of metal together; the other is a verb directing
the user to bind metal by this method. You've probably already figured out
which is which. The two different versions were often very near each other
in procedures, and the hyphen helped the user understand if we were telling
him to look at it, or to do it. "Spotweld" removes this understanding.

Rick Lippincott
rjlippincott -at- delphi -dot- com

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