The original sentence:

Because the Moon has only an eightieth of the Earth's mass, it requires 97 per cent less energy to travel the quarter of a million miles from the Moon to Earth-orbit than the 200 mile-journey from Earth's surface into orbit!

Is the boldfaced part supposed to be “the 200-mile journey” in standard English?

Thanks for the help, as always.

  • 1
    Yes, that's right. The writer (or editor or typographer) put the hyphen in the wrong place. It happens a lot in publishing, usually as a result of carelessness but sometimes because the writer simply doesn't know how to use hyphens properly. – Sven Yargs May 17 '19 at 5:40
  • @SvenYargs I agree, I can only imagine a mile-journey being a journey of one mile. Not really applicable to space travel! – BoldBen May 17 '19 at 7:15
  • Lots of people would omit the hyphen entirely. – Hot Licks May 17 '19 at 12:06

200-mile is correct. It is a compound adjective derived from an adjective+noun phrase as in: The journey was 200 (adjective) miles (noun). Note the noun is made singular in the conversion. It is common with numbers + noun, as in a three-metre rope, a 60-kilogram rock. Addition of a postpositive adjective to these can cause confusion. As in the pool was three metres deep = a three-metre-deep pool, NOT: a three-metre deep or three metre-deep or three metre deep pool.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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