Lets Lirn Inglish, 5


Let’s Learn English Grammar, Lesson 5

Please be aware I’m not a teacher, I’m learning about grammar using these posts and hope some of you will learn along with me as I seek out the British English grammar on the internet. I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that American English grammar rules differ from English grammar taught in the United Kingdom, as do Australian, Canadian, and many other countries using English. Here we go then with British English grammar. 

th[11]

 

Hyphen

The following information is quoted from the source below. I hope you find it useful.

Grammar and Style in British English:

A Comprehensive Guide for Students, Writers and Academics

http://www.gsbe.co.uk/grammar-the-hyphen.html

“Linking Compound Adjectives

“At 5′ 7″, the short-story writer O. Henry might also be described as a short story writer, but the two descriptions are clearly different. In this capacity,

the hyphen shows that the adjectives express one idea (a light-brown overcoat) rather than two (a light brown overcoat). But hyphenation usually occurs only in the attributive (when the compound precedes the noun) –

She is a well-known actor

They are law-abiding citizens

Jane is a soft-hearted woman

The dress has an eye-catching pattern

“Compound adjectives are not usually hyphenated in the predicative (when they come after the noun or pronoun) –

She’s an actor well known

Most people are law abiding

Jane is soft hearted

The pattern on the dress is eye catching

“Exceptions are compounds beginning with ill, mid and self, which are hyphenated in all circumstances –

an ill-conceived idea (attributive)

an idea ill-conceived (predicative)

a mid-life crisis (attributive)

a crisis of mid-life (predicative)

a self-evident truth (attributive)

a truth that is self-evident (predicative)

“In a series of related compound adjectives (e.g. first-class, second-class, third-class), we generally drop the second component in all but the last instance. But although the rule is rarely followed, the hyphen (called a trailing hyphen) should appear in all instances –

British universities award first-, second- and third-class degrees on their three- and four-year courses.

“Hyphens are not used with compounds whose first components are ly-ending adverbs –

an easily understood lesson

readily available ingredients

a commonly cited example

“Linking Compound Nouns

“Most compound nouns are either open (bus stop, clothes line, post office, swimming pool) or closed (boyfriend, mastermind, toothpaste, wallpaper), but a few are hyphenated, often to avoid unsightly spelling –

get-together

mother-in-law

single-mindedness

train-spotting

“Compounds with the suffix room are usually closed when the first component is monosyllabic –

bathroom

bedroom

storeroom

(but box room)

“and open when the first component has more than one syllable –

breakfast room

dining room

living room

reception room

utility room

“The latter are hyphenated only as noun-adjective compounds (nouns describing other nouns) –

We need new dining-room furniture.

(See also compound nouns.)

“Linking Prefixes to Words

“There is unfortunately no consistency in this use of the hyphen –

anti-aircraft

anticlimax

counter-attack

counterproductive

non-addictive

nonconformist

post-Renaissance

postgraduate

pre-war

precondition

semi-conscious

semicircle

sub-aquatic

subconscious

“Only a dictionary or familiarity with the words can decide. It is, however, crucial to use a hyphen after the prefix re where not to do so would create another word with a different meaning –

“re-form (shape anew); reform (improve)

re-bound (bound anew); rebound (bounce, reverberate)

re-cover (cover anew); recover (recuperate)

“(For a more extensive list, see re, re-.)

“Hyphens are also normally used when the prefix is a single (often capitalised) letter –

“e-mail (but now usually email)

S-bend

T-Junction

T-shirt

U-turn

X-ray

“Linking Repetitive, or Almost Repetitive, Words

“These are generally confined to informal English –

never-never

hush-hush

tick-tock

mumbo-jumbo

jiggery-pokery

“Linking Compound Numbers

“The hyphen is also used to link the following kinds of number.

“Cardinal compounds between and including twenty-one and ninety-nine

thirty-three

sixty-seven

eighty-five

“but not above this –

two hundred

three hundred thousand

“Ordinal compounds between twenty-first and ninety-ninth

twenty-ninth

forty-second

seventy-fourth

“but, again, not above this –

one hundredth

three thousandth

“Fractions –

two-thirds

three-quarters

seven-eighths

“The dash, however, not the hyphen, is used to span calendar years and page ranges –

Beethoven (1770–1827)

pp. 127–34

“(See also numbers.)

“Linking People’s Names

Price-Jones

Barnes-Wallace

Douglas-Home

Anne-Marie

Jean-Paul”

th[7] (3)

The Cambridge Dictionaries Online states:

“However, hyphens are becoming less common and people often … do not separate compound words at all. A common word with a hyphen such as post-box will also be seen as post box and postbox.

It is important to check the spelling of compound words in a good learner’s dictionary.”

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/hyphens

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About caroleparkes

My husband calls me a butterfly because I flit from one hobby to another. Apart from being a wife for 49 years, a mother of three sons, and a grandmother, I'm also an author, genealogist, amateur artist, a lover of most needlecrafts, and occasional poet. Of the above, my most enduring interest has been writing and I hope to be doing it well into old age.
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16 Responses to Lets Lirn Inglish, 5

  1. Elle says:

    I’ve never thought so much about hyphens until today. My name originally had a hyphen but it has disappeared over the years. I also have a problem with spellcheck functions, it doesn’t seem to like the hyphen and keeps altering the word!

    Like

    • caroleparkes says:

      Do you have it set to your correct country? I have an earlier post I reblogged from another knowledgable blogger all about Spellcheck in word. She shows you how to change from American English to British English or vice versa. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathleen says:

    Carole, Thank you so much for another informative post!

    Like

  3. Elle says:

    Hi Carole, love your posts, they’re a big help.
    Not sure if its my phone or your last two posts but the font colour is yellow and I’m struggling to read it. 😀

    Like

  4. Pingback: Lets Lirn Inglish, 5 | Bookish Lynx

  5. That’s a good informative post. Hyphenated words, and especially compound adjectives catch out a lot of people.

    One of the other issues to take into account is how words change over time, so they may start off as two separate words, then become hyphenated and then one word.

    So, all anyone can do is to check around a variety of sources and decide on the most appropriate usage, which may also be influenced by the national style guides eg Brit or American.

    In some cases, there really are alternatives and no absolutes if a word/s are in flux.

    Like

  6. Cannot refresh too often. 🙂

    Like

I'd love to hear your views.

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