shesgottaread: it gets better (Default)
[personal profile] shesgottaread
Recently I've been seeing more and more omission of the hyphen in compound words. So what is a beta to do?

I asked about it during the Beta panel at this year's Femslash Con, and learned that this trend is encouraged, if not insisted on, by at least one publisher. In discussions with one of my co-workers--see? That looks so much better than coworkers--even some of the folks at my employer have been on a campaign to either "save the hyphen" or "eradicate the hyphen", depending on how you want to look at it. As if the hyphen were an endangered species and only so many exist in the universe. What's next? The apostrophe? We already have enough problems with apostrophe misuse in the world. LOL

What would you do? Leave "pale blue eyes" as is, or put the hyphen in, ala "pale-blue eyes"? Is it "ex husband", "exhusband" or "ex-husband"? If I'm editing your story and I add the hyphen into your text, am I making work for both of us by my insistence on preserving this endangered species: I insert it, and then you have to reject the change?

And yes, I am aware that I sometimes have a problem with comma-overuse. Hopefully I will have curtailed that tendency a bit in this post. But really, if Andy's described as that "Chanel-attired endearing doe-eyed hooker"--prompt anyone?--I want commas there!

Thanks for your attention, and I'd love to hear your thoughts. It will help me improve as I beta some really great stories. :-)

Date: 2011-07-23 04:01 am (UTC)
dhamphir: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dhamphir
I'm not sure where I fall on some of the hyphenated words, since I'm sure not consistenet with some of them. *lol*

However, I fully agree with you on the comma usage. "Chanel-attired endearing doe-eyed hooker" definitely needs commas: "Chanel-attired, endearing, doe-eyed hooker" *G*

Date: 2011-07-25 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I understand, and have to admit that some compounds have definitely had their hyphenation fallen out of favor, which can make it hard. For example: living-room and dining-room. Rhetorically I ask, "When did they become two words or one word. I mean c'mon: livingroom?" *g*

Thanks for agreeing on the commas in this example. My personal foible is inserting them at pauses; I keep slapping myself to cut it out.

Date: 2011-07-23 12:14 pm (UTC)
ext_29986: (motel beer eat)
From: [identity profile]
I've been aware of this no-hyphen trend, and I think that in some sense, as a beta, you become the House Rules.

I used to do a lot of proofreading for a scholarly website... and I basically took a stance on several instances and stuck to my guns. My personal bugbears are apostrophes, to be sure, but hyphens can be of concern...

I think it's going to prove to be the wave of the future that more and more compound words will simply be jammed together. But I do insist that modifying words be hyphenated correctly, for example Nineteenth-century literature. :)

I'd say that when you beta you should just let the writer know that you intend to put in hyphens where needed, and that you will apply hyphens consistently across the text.

In this lackadaisical world, where very few people can use it's appropriately, consistency is beauty -- and rigor is even better!

Also, as a nineteenth-century reader, I tend to add rhetorical commas (which I then try to go back and edit out), but I think at least a New Yorker level of comma use is clear and useful for the reader.


PS, this is a real sign from near where I grew up. The grammar of it (or lack thereof) fascinated me for years!

Date: 2011-07-25 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, I'll certainly try to apply hyphens consistently, but I've found that sometimes my reference tools give me different answers at different times. That can certainly be frustrating!

Love the sign for its succinctness, although I can understand why the grammar fascinated you. *G*

P.S. Are you working the book sale again this year? I'll have to stop by and say hi.

Date: 2011-07-23 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You had to know I couldn't let this go by. LOL. So I did a bit of research. Here are the recs from the two top lesbian publishers. They seem to be taken directly from Mirriam-Webster's and Chicago Style.

Refer to Merriam-Webster’s and Chicago for compound words.
a) Colors: do not hyphenate adjectives when they modify a color before a noun:
light blue eyes; dark brown hair; bluish green eyes, but blue-green eyes
b) Do not hyphenate –ly adverb/adjective combinations before nouns:
a highly prized commodity
c) Spaces should not appear before or after hyphens

References to time: Use hyphens, as in a “six-thirty appointment,” or “The bomb went
off at seven-fifty-two A.M.” A.M. and P.M. are capitalized, with periods, no space between.
Word hyphenation: If a word is in question, check Merriam-Webster’s. Generally,
compound words formed with the following prefixes are always one word:

anti antihero over overprotective bi biannual post postdoctoral
co coauthor pre prenatal extra extraterrestrial pro prorated non nonviolent
inter interrelated re reexamine micro microeconomics semi semiannual
mid midlife sub subatomic multi multiracial un unwashed under underpaid
But, a word should be hyphenated if it can be mistaken for another word, for example: co-op/
coop; re-creation/recreation.

Hope that helps. *G*

Date: 2011-07-25 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*chuckles* And yet another reason I need to read the author's notes, or in the example case, the non-definitions parts of the dictionary. It's been ages since I sat down to read those sections. Of course, part of the problem is that I'm so often using an electronic dictionary these days. Those don't give you the reference/usage sections; although the OED software may have added it in a newer version than I have.

thanks for the research!

Date: 2011-08-05 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
in regards to hyphens, I am not a huge fan. I will add them only rarely and find people need commas more often than hyphens. I agree 'ex' is a good hyphen example, but I would not insist with 'co'

sorry for the delay in responding to this.

Date: 2011-08-05 06:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh and yes your last comment needs commas. lol
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