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Thread: Hyphenation Hell

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  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Jan 2006
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    Hyphenation Hell

    Damn those compound words.

    There has to be an easy way to figure out what gets a hyphen, right?

    I am currently looking up everything in my Merriams but it's so tedious.

    Is there a list somewhere?

    And how about this as an example.

    detail oriented or detail-oriented

    THANKS!

    Deb

  2. #2
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    In that case it looks better without. How's that for scientific? I'm keeping an eye on this one to see if it's a 'by consensus' thing or if anybody knows a rule for this.

  3. #3
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    I sorta sprinkle 'em liberally throughout, so I've got something to obsess about later, on rewrite.
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  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    oh dearrrr

    Great. So, I'll just keep pretending to know with my clients :-)

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Here's a rule I was taught to go by (but I don't know if it's 100% right or not!):

    If it is immediately before the noun it describes, use the hyphen:

    He is a detail-oriented person.

    If it is not immediately before a noun that it describes, don't use it:

    He is detail oriented.

    And, like I said, I could be wrong.

  6. #6
    Fig of authority
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    You really need to know the basis for hyphenation if it's part of a service to clients.

    For compounds consisting of a noun and a participle, the current practice in the U.S. is to hyphenate before the noun (i.e., use of the compound as an attributive adjective) and not after the noun (use as a predicative adjective). A detail-oriented analysis. The training was detail oriented.

    I prefer hyphens in both situations, and I'm not sure all style books say to leave them out in the latter one.

    If a compound is in quotes and nothing else is in the quotes, don't hyphenate. The quote marks set the compound off as a unit. Dr. Smith described the new training program as "detail oriented" and added that trainees had homework assignments every week.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    yes just that...

    The above info is what I thought but there seems to be so much inconsistency.

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