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I know we could write

between high- and low-yield crop rotation groups

but how do we write the same sentence if we have to write

between high (CC and CCS) and low (CS and SCS) yield crop rotation groups?

Should I write

between high-(CC and CCS) and low-(CS and SCS) yield crop rotation groups?

Can someone please shed some light on this?

  • 1
    Nothing inside parentheses should have any impact on the text surrounding it. Grammar (and style) should first only be considered based on the sentence if the parenthetical information didn't exist at all. If you're adding (or omitting) a dash because of something inside parentheses, you're doing it wrong. Delete the optional information, rephrase what's inside the parentheses, or rephrase the sentence so it doesn't matter. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Oct 26 '19 at 17:13
  • between high-yield (CC and CCS) and low-yield (CS and SCS) crop rotation groups – Hot Licks Oct 29 '19 at 2:37
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The hyphenated "high-yield" is trying to make a new word out of "high" and "yield", isn't it? But you can't stop to clarify what "high" means in the middle of a word, so don't break at the hyphen to put in parentheses. I think you should stick with "between high (CC and CCS) and low (CS and SCS) yield rotation groups", where you're using high and low to describe yield instead of trying to form new hyphenated compound words.

  • I also think so. Thanks – MAPK Oct 24 '19 at 21:39
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The logical question to ask is whether CC and CCS (on the one hand) and CS and SCS (on the other) are types of "yield crop rotation groups" or types of "crop rotation groups" or types of "rotation groups" or types of "groups." If they can be accurately described as "high" and "low" types of "yield crop rotation groups," it makes perfect sense to characterize the two groupings as follows:

high (CC and CCS) and low (CS and SCS) yield crop rotation groups

If, however, it would be more accurate to describe them as "high-yield" and "low-yield" types of "crop rotation groups," it would make more sense to characterize them as follows:

high-yield (CC and CCS) and low-yield (CS and SCS) crop rotation groups

But let's take this a step further. If it would be even more accurate to describe them as "high-yield crop" and "low-yield crop" types of "rotation groups," it would logical to characterize them as follows:

high-yield crop (CC and CCS) and low-yield crop (CS and SCS) rotation groups

And to push the boundaries of logic as far as they will go, if it would be more accurate to describe CC, CCS, CS, and SCS as "high-yield crop rotation" and "low-yield crop rotation" types of "groups," it would be appropriate to characterize them as follows:

high-yield crop rotation (CC and CCS) and low-yield crop rotation (CS and SCS) groups

The overarching point here is that you want your final sentence to equate the parenthetical terms (CC, CCS, CS, and SCS) with the most precise category name that accurately describes them. Clearly, "yield crop rotation group" is the narrowest designation of the four, but people don't normally use that expression because "yield" is tightly bound to the adjective "high" or "low"—not to "crop rotation group." Conversely, "groups" is the broadest designation, but it almost certainly isn't the most precise one that will accurately define the category of interest.

Realistically, the designation that most narrowly defines the category of interest in your situation is probably either "crop rotation group" or "rotation group"—in which case your best bet for conveying the intended category is either the second or the third option listed above.

In any event, what you want to avoid doing is associating your parenthetical terms with the wrong category, which is almost certainly what would happen if you were to identify the category of interest as "yield crop rotation groups." I should note, with regard to using a suspensive hyphen after "high," that you can still do it with one of the other options (if you really want to) by using a formulation such as this one:

high- (CC and CCS) and low-yield (CS and SCS) crop rotation groups

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