16

One thing some style manuals suggest in this case is to use an en-dash rather than a hyphen. So North America–based company rather than North America-based company. The longer dash signals that it shouldn't be parsed as "America-based".


15

Bryan Garner, Garner's Modern American Usage (2003) has a useful discussion of this problem in his lengthy coverage of phrasal adjectives: E. The Compound Conundrum. When the first or last element in a phrasal adjective is part of a compound noun, it too needs to be hyphenated: post-cold-war norms, not post-cold war norms. Otherwise, as in that example, ...


6

Hyphen is required when phrasal adjective comes before the noun it modifies. For an example, In the sentence, "Man-eating shark" man-eating is a phrasal adjective modifying the noun shark. This sentence means a shark that eats a man. Now, if you remove the hyphen in "Man eating shark", then it means in some corner of the world some man likes to eat a shark....


5

Words that function as one word but appear as two are called open compounds. They are one of three types of compound words, the other two of which are closed (e.g., pancake) and hyphenated (e.g., half-baked). This document covers compound words extensively. This one gives several examples, such as living room, full moon, real estate, and coffee table. For ...


5

I presume your instructor is using the rule: "hyphenate an open-form compound noun when it is used as an adjective preceding the noun it modifies." Not everybody agrees with this rule, but you can find it online. From the above link: Use a hyphen to join two or more words serving as a single adjective before a noun: - a one-way street - chocolate-...


5

There are certainly differences between US and Australian English, where we (Australia) have a tendency to hyphenate more than the US does. This is particularly the case where the un-hyphenated version is difficult on the eye: reenter, reelect, deescalate, and many of similar form. In my part of the world these would normally all be hyphenated, except ...


4

My understanding is that you only hyphenate two words when you want to make a new single compound word out of them. So, "open source" is a phrase and "open-source" is a word. Using the compound word can make a sentence more clearer, eg "Can you give me the open source software standards" risks being parsed as "Can you give me the source software ...


4

The two most prominent U.S. dictionaries—Merriam-Webster and American Heritage—disagree on the hyphenation question. In its entry for guard, Merriam-Webster Online includes this subentry for "off guard": off guard : in an unprepared or unsuspecting state {Her angry response caught me off guard.} Merriam-Webster's Eleventh Collegiate Dictionary (2003) ...


4

There is an historical element to hyphenation. Compound words we commonly spell unhyphenated now were once two words. Then, as they became more commonly used, they became compound, hyphenated words. Finally, when used enough, they became one word. Usage seems to determine when a hyphen is used. The guide websites cited above suggest "consult a dictionary", ...


4

First of all, note that the problem is a little bit more complex. English can separate parts of a compound with a space (orange juice), nothing (football), or sometimes a letter (bridesmaid). German can use nothing (Fußball), a letter (Orangensaft, not Orangesaft), or, rarely a hyphen (Drucker-Zeugnis) to avoid confusion. That being said, this is primarily a ...


3

If you want to follow the intended use of English language, then you want to hyphenate in that situation. It's the difference between having a high quality, and being high-quality.


3

We call the "single words" you're talking about compound words. It sounds like you're torn between creating closed and open compound words. The way to choose is to look at what other people are doing. The English language is always being reshaped by how we use it, so while "living room" might be two words today, who knows what will happen in 10 years! In ...


3

Stylistically, hyphens tend to be used with compound adjectives forming a single idea that precede the noun they modify, but not with compound adjectives following a noun or adverbial phrases. The Compound Adjective The APA Style Guide has several rules for using hyphens, including this: In a temporary compound that is used as an adjective before a ...


3

In off guard, the hyphen need only be used when the phrase stands in front of a noun it modifies (as an adjective in the attributive position), as in an off-guard supervisor. This is to distinguish the unaware supervisor from a man supervising guards, who is a bit weird, whom one might call an off guard-supervisor or an off guard supervisor (here the hyphen ...


3

The usual way of doing this is with an en dash, which can be used like a hyphen to join terms when they comprise multiple words (or, less commonly, an already hyphenated term): Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter pre–Civil War era ex–vice president non–drug-naïve patients That Wikipedia article quotes the Chicago Manual of Style: Use it in place of a hyphen ...


3

Unfortunately, I don't think that common principles of hyphenation establish a single correct way to punctuate "off guard" in your sentences. Fortunately, I think that either using or not using a hyphen would be defensible here. My preference would be to omit the hyphen in your sentences. Prepositional phrases vs. compound adjectives When the word ...


2

Land cover (written as an open compound) does appear more frequently. See the link below for the frequency of each form. If the compound is not permanent i.e. common enough that it has been accepted in a particular form and appears in dictionaries, I suggest you follow convention. https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=landcover%2Cland+cover%2Cland-...


2

Rewrite the sentence to avoid the problem: Coca-Cola, based in North America, makes sugared water. Coca-Cola, headquartered in North America, makes sugary water. Or just drop "based" North America's Coca-Cola makes sugar-water.


2

In most of the English-speaking world, there is no possibility of genuine ambiguity about what the meat in "hot dog soup" consists of—beyond the fact that hot dogs themselves are sometimes characterized as "mystery meat." Objectively, "hot dog soup" is no more ambiguous than "hot dog on a bun," and no one familiar with the U.S. term hot dog doubts what that ...


2

For the reason you suggest, "hot dog soup" looks a little like "hot dog-soup". If I saw either on a menu it might be the source of a few moments' humour. I prefer "hot-dog soup" because I don't think many people write it as hotdog.


2

There is no "rule" about hyphenating compound nouns. Certainly in British English, tooth-paste, machine-gun, hair-cut, to-day, good-bye and full-stop are being edged aside by toothpaste, machine gun, haircut, today, goodbye, and full stop. Hyphenated forms tend to be viewed as old fashioned (or 'old-fashioned'). There is no consistency and dictionaries and ...


2

There are plenty of unhyphenated compound words in English (teaspoon, greenhouse, laptop...). Gyles Brandreth in Have you eaten, Grandma says that hyphenated words are becoming less common. Even co-operate, which you would think needed the hyphen to stop you from pronouncing the first syllable coop, is now often written without one. There are no hard and ...


2

Yes, you can do this in English. As rail traffic etc. are noun phrases, you can leave out the hyphens. Hyphens are only needed when a word is abbreviated, as in I can swim both back- and breaststroke.


1

According to the Chicago Manual of Style § 7.89(3), "[c]ompounds formed with free as second element are hyphenated both before and after a noun." The examples given are "toll-free number" and "accident-free driver." Specifically, in the construction you listed, the examples are: "The number is toll-free." and "The driver is accident-free." Therefore, "...


1

The use of un as a prefix is part of normal grammar, and it is typically used without a hyphen when it precedes a word starting with a consonant. In looking at the Merriam-Webster definition of un, none of the example sentences use it in a hyphenated form. Where it is used with a hyphen, it's when the word that follows it starts with a vowel, such as un-...


1

The most important thing in writing is that you are understood. People need to know that a compound word is in fact is a compound word if they are to understand it correctly. For compound words which are not frequently used or could easily be mistaken for something else, you should use hyphens. When there are 3 or more words connected together, I'd use ...


1

"300- or 400-level" is correct. However, if you have "to" in between, I would write it as "300-to-400 level" or "300-to-400-level".


1

A long time ago in a com­ment far, far away, Janus Bahs Jac­quet wrote: There are no hard and fast rules that de­ter­mine how com­pounds, es­pe­cially less com­mon ones, are writ­ten (open, hy­phen­ated, closed) in English. There are barely even soft and slow ones. Write it how­ever you think looks best—as long as you’re con­sis­tent. As you say, ...


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