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In this sentence: "before migrating to lower SoHo, and the then still fringe neighborhood of Chelsea," I feel like "then-still" should be hyphenated, but I can't find a rule in the Chicago Manual of Style about it. Any ideas?

  • Note that the "CamelCase" capitalisation SoHo is an acronym for Small Office / Home Office, not a district in London. But seriously - was there ever a time when you could call Chelsea a "fringe neighbourhood"? Whatever - the normal hyphenation here would be the then-still-fringe neighbourhood, since those three highlighted words are being "ungrammatically" forced into a syntactically adjectival role. – FumbleFingers Aug 16 '18 at 15:12
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    There is no stringent rule for hyphenation. – Ubi hatt Aug 16 '18 at 15:13
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    Hyphenating "then-still" looks odd to me. If anything, I would hyphenate "still-fringe." – user184130 Aug 16 '18 at 15:16
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    Thanks @FumbleFingers--just for clarification, the article is about NYC, during a time when the Chelsea neighborhood here was indeed considered "fringe" :) – Ania Aug 16 '18 at 15:20
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    Because you should only use hyphens when some confusion would otherwise arise, which misparsing are you attempting to avoid here? Books don't hyphenate this. – tchrist Aug 16 '18 at 15:22
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In a comment, I wrote:

Because you should only use hyphens when some confusion would otherwise arise, which misparsing are you attempting to avoid here? Books don't hyphenate this.

In a comment, FumbleFingers wrote:

Yeah - hyphenating just still-fringe doesn't look too bad either (but just then-still looks weird). As a matter of fact though, when I just searched Google Books for the structurally-identical sequence the then still unknown (person, thing, idea) I didn't see any hyphenated instances in the first couple of pages of 636 results returned.

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