Should I put a hyphen for friction that depends on slip rate?


slip rate-dependent friction


slip-rate dependent friction


slip rate dependent friction

The last one seems to be most widely used, however, I have also seen the first and the second in a few papers.


Open compounds like "slip rate" should be used in compound adjectives with an en dash:

slip rate–dependent friction.

Chicago Manual of Style, quoted from here:

The en dash can be used in place of a hyphen in a compound adjective when one of its elements consists of an open compound or when both elements consist of hyphenated compounds.

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  • I don't think so. "slip-rate" is a compound. But dependent friction is not a compound. What we have here is a compound (slip-rate) with some more sentence after it, no? (Nevertheless, a fabulous reference and a great piece of info.) – Fattie Jul 16 '14 at 15:24
  • "Slip rate" is an open compound, and is being hyphenated with "dependent" to form an adjective. (Disclaimer: I'm not a linguist) – jtbandes Jul 16 '14 at 17:48
  • hmm good point... – Fattie Jul 16 '14 at 18:01

As a rule of thumb, think of the possible confusion. Is it a slip that is rate dependent or is the friction dependent on the slip rate. Clearly the latter. Therefore: slip-rate dependent. ("hyphen" and "dash" are synonymous. "en dash" doesn't exist.)

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  • 1
    If the en dash does not exist, why is it in the Chicago Manual of Style? – traindriver Jul 16 '14 at 8:19
  • The comment that an en dash does not exist is flamboyantly mad, so we all love that :) But I agree completely that "slip-rate" (likely) needs to be clearly demarcated as a "unit". – Fattie Jul 16 '14 at 15:23

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