I keep stumbling across this problem. In a sentence such as: '...indicates that offers of or requests for assistance...' should there be hyphens to indicate that both the 'of' and 'for' relate to assistance? I've sometimes seen it written like this: '...indicates that offers of- or requests for- assistance...' Is there perhaps a grammatical rule when dealing with this type of situation? Help, please. Thanks.

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    You can't use hyphens. You can use dashes. You can also use commas or parentheses. However, it's a question of style rather than grammatical correctness. – rjpond Sep 28 '17 at 18:32
  • No, Sula. If you’d provided a complete example, it would prolly be obvious that … offers of or requests for assistance…’ is fine by itself. *… offers of - or requests for -… just might be better, and not to an extent that mattered. If both of and for don’t relate to assistance, why exactly are they lumped together? There are broad grammatical rules in this type of situation and everything depends on context which again, would need a complete example… or three or more.. Strictly you do need dashes, not hyphens… and how many people will see a difference; much less, what it is? – Robbie Goodwin Sep 29 '17 at 21:41

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