2

Do you hyphenate half-in half-out? He was half-in half-out. (of the window). Or half in, half out? Sheesh, nothing coming up on google. Any ideas/help please?

1
  • 1
    I'd use "half-in, half-out" or "half in, half out". But Ngram finds all imaginable variations.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 14, 2018 at 12:41

2 Answers 2

-2

I see no reason for hyphens. Then, again, I see no reason for many apostrophes in today's names, but there they are. (Saw one recently, Rickey la' Davis--really?!)

2
  • Okay thanks. In that case, if no obvious rule, I might go for hyphens cos I prefer how it looks to the comma. I like my words to look neat too! Don't know Rickey la Davis I'm afraid. Footballer Rickey L Davis? In which case please explain the la part... thanks.
    – Debrapples
    Oct 15, 2018 at 10:15
  • No reasons for hyphens in general or in this specific case?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 15, 2018 at 10:33
-2

No hyphens, because "half in" and "half out" aren't words. Hyphens connect the parts of a compound word. The stress on the last part of each, "in" and "out", is a clue that these are phrases, not words. Compound words usually have stress on the first part of the compound.

You could add a comma after "half in" to clarify the structure, if you wanted.

5
  • 1
    If you do the hokey pokey, you’re doing the hokey-pokey dance. The hyphens tie the words together, so that the hokey-pokey dance is distinguishable from (say) a hokey dance being done in the pokey.
    – user205876
    Jan 9, 2020 at 7:08
  • @GlobalCharm, You could say the same about 'the George Foreman grill", but it still doesn't need a hyphen (because "George Foreman" is not a word of English).
    – Greg Lee
    Jan 9, 2020 at 7:59
  • 1
    "... imagine a floor-warping, ceiling-spinning, brain-churning, think-you're-gonna-die-and-afraid-you-might-not hangover" ((Kristin Chenoweth) probably has emphasis on the 'not'. Compounding is poorly regulated, and 'half-in-half-out' seems a better candidate than the above (rather famous) example. Sep 5, 2020 at 14:44
  • @EdwinAshworth Yes. I'd agree that three hyphens are better than two here. "Half-in-half-out" is a composite expression. You could say someone was "half-in" the window, and equally one could say they were "half-out", but used in tandem they express a single idea.
    – WS2
    May 3, 2021 at 8:23
  • @Greg Lee Names for a single individual are not normally included. as regards hyphenating rules for pre-posiotioned composite adjectives. However, if one speaks about the Duckworth-Lewis rules for calculating the target score in a rain-affected, limited-overs cricket match - a hyphen becomes appropriate as you are talking about two separate people Mr Duckworth and Mr Lewis. It is sometimes known as the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. However the Webb Ellis rules in rugby stand without a hyphen since William Webb Ellis was a single person.
    – WS2
    May 3, 2021 at 8:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.