Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2
#18132 - 02/02/01 05:04 PM hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 20
garynamy Offline
stranger
garynamy  Offline
stranger

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 20
Maryland
Has anyone noticed a trend toward massive, cumbersome multi-word modifiers in the written word? I'm thinking of constructions like:

"We can't continue this I-have-to-spend-my-paycheck-as-soon-as-I-get-it mentality." (I made this one up, but you get the idea.)

Sometimes I find it to be a clever way to communicate; other times I lose track of the sentence. (What was the subject again?)

Any wisdom out there? Egregious examples? gs


#18133 - 02/02/01 05:26 PM Re: hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,757
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel
maverick  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,757
Egregious examples?

Try a board Search based on 'emoticon' !


#18134 - 02/02/01 05:42 PM Re: hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,511
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel
AnnaStrophic  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 6,511
lower upstate New York
[glancing-askance-at-maverick-since-the-reference-wasn't-lost-on-me emoticon]


#18135 - 02/02/01 05:45 PM Re: hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,757
maverick Offline
Carpal Tunnel
maverick  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 4,757
glancing-askance-at-maverick

[luv-yah-to-bits-emoticon]!


#18136 - 02/04/01 10:17 AM Re: hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 460
paulb Offline
addict
paulb  Offline
addict

Joined: Mar 2000
Posts: 460
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Hi garynamy: I've just finished reading Oscar Hijuelos's "The Mambo Kings play songs of love" in which one whole chapter (approximately a page and a half) is composed of hyphenated words. Here's a brief example:

" then coconuts-falling-out-of-the-trees-and-thumping-against-the-ground drums, then lion-skin drums, then the-whacking-of-the-hand-against-a-wall drums, the-beating-of-a-pillow drums, heavy-stones-against-a-wall drums, then the-thickest-forest-tree-trunks-pounding drums, and then the-mountain-rumble drums, then the-little-birds-learning-to-fly drums and the big-birds-alighting-on-a-rooftop-and-fanning-their-immense-wings drums, then a-boat-down-the-river-with-its-oars-dropping-heavily-into-the-water drums "


#18137 - 02/04/01 01:17 PM Re: hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 866
stales Offline
old hand
stales  Offline
old hand

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 866
Perth, Western Australia
When writing in scientific english (as used in reports, technical papers and theses) ALL hyphens are treated as superfluous and deleted (well, at least the publications for which I prepared papers). As I recall however, the only exception is when listing an assemblage of mineral or chemical constituents eg ".....the Broken Hill lead-zinc-copper-silver deposit".

To be frank, hyphen deletion is not a bad way to go!! Try it in your next paper or report at work and you'll see that their removal often leads to more correct use of the language. Look at the hyphens in something you've written previously. Could you replace them with (a) a better word, (b) a full stop (ie "period"), (c) a comma or (d) could they simply be deleted with no effect on the sentence? (BTW MS Word just LURVS hyphens. I spend a lot of time NOT accepting those proffered by the spell checker!!)

The rules of scientific writing also rank adverbs as slovenly, incorrect and unnecessary! For instance, "...the process is usually accepted..." carries scientific oomph when "usually" is deleted. Guess that the rule forces one to write in the assertive rather than the passive. When I was working in the scientific world, the spell checker was always sent on a " *ly" search and destroy mission. The only one I used to let through was "only"!!

Since email has been around, I've taken up hyphen usage - it works for me as the written version of an afterthought or if I wish to make an aside in the middle of a sentence.

stales


#18138 - 02/04/01 10:21 PM Re: hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 347
Marty Offline
enthusiast
Marty  Offline
enthusiast

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 347
Melbourne, Australia
"I don't like your I-can-use-anything-as-an-adjective attitude."

(attributed to Larry Wall)


#18139 - 02/06/01 02:34 AM Re: hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,065
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Bingley  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,065
Jakarta
Without using a hyphen how would you differentiate between "Applicants must submit six-monthly reports" and "Applicants must submit six monthly reports"?

Bingley


Bingley
#18140 - 02/06/01 04:45 AM Re: hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 866
stales Offline
old hand
stales  Offline
old hand

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 866
Perth, Western Australia
Howsabout "Applicants must submit a report every six months."

stales


#18141 - 02/06/01 05:00 AM Re: hyphenated modifiers from h%@$  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,065
Bingley Offline
Carpal Tunnel
Bingley  Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,065
Jakarta
Well, you could, but why should you? I would agree that the hyphen can be overused, but surely the way round that is to cut them down to where they are essential to preserve a difference in meaning rather than abolish them altogether?

Another example: Because of the recent floods, some of the paintings in the gallery's collection need to be re-stored/restored.

Bingley


Bingley
Page 1 of 2 1 2

Moderated by  Jackie 

Forum Statistics
Forums16
Topics13,878
Posts223,763
Members9,009
Most Online3,341
Dec 9th, 2011
Newest Members
Akintola, VegasCaptain, Mallo, drad_dog, Kimi
9009 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
0 registered members (), 58 guests, and 1 spider.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters(30 Days)
Top Posters(All Time)
wwh 13,858
Faldage 13,803
Jackie 11,613
tsuwm 10,538
LukeJavan8 8,935
AnnaStrophic 6,511
Wordwind 6,296
of troy 5,400
Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0
Page Time: 0.014s Queries: 14 (0.003s) Memory: 2.7241 MB (Peak: 2.8590 MB) Zlib disabled. Server Time: 2017-07-20 14:48:32 UTC