Re: OFFLINE OF OFF-LINE??

Subject: Re: OFFLINE OF OFF-LINE??
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- EXPERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 1997 13:21:45 -0800

At 04:16 PM 1/7/97 -0500, Mike Dean wrote:
>The subject says it all.
>
>Microsoft Manual of Style:
>One word in all instances. [snip]
>
>WWWebster Dictionary Search Page:
>Main Entry: off-line
[snip]
>
>Word Dictionary Says two words
[snip]

The Chicago Manual of Style has a lengthy discussion of compound words.
Rather than type it all out, I'll summarize (paras. 6.32 to 6.42)

Open compounds (off line) are used for words that are so closely related
that they form a single concept. The example is "settlement house".

Hyphenated compounds are often used for "temporary compounds" -- words
that you put together but nobody else does (like "quasi-realistic").
On-line and off-line started in this category, but whether they're
still there is questionable.

Closed (or solid) compounds (all one word) are accepted into the general
vocabulary as such. Examples are makeup and henhouse.

Chicago goes on to say that the trend is away from hyphens and toward
making a solid compound "as soon as acceptance warrants their being
considered permanent compounds, and otherwise to spell them open."

In my little corner of the world, "online" took on solid form several years
ago and I see no reason that "offline" should not follow suit. Does your
audience warrant a more conservative approach?



Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com
-- The _Guide_ is definitive.
Reality is frequently inaccurate.

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