Posted by: episystechpubs | February 19, 2014

Editor’s Corner test

I feel pretty comfortable with most punctuation rules, but for some reason, the hyphen continues to rattle me. I’m thinking maybe some of you have the same mental block; so, today I’m going to share one tip about hyphens (there are quite a few more rules; this only gets us started).
Rule: Use hyphens for phrasal adjectives when the phrasal adjective is placed before the noun. (A phrasal adjective is simply a phrase—more than one word—that describes a noun.)
To explain this rule, I’ll give you an example from my not-too-distant past. I was recently in need of someone to repair my microwave, and I sent an email to my co-workers asking if anyone could provide a referral for a small appliance repairman. I got several responses asking just how small I wanted him to be and one asking what I had against tall repair women.
One of my mistakes was in the omission of the hyphen between “small” and “appliance.” As I mentioned, you need to hyphenate phrasal adjectives like “small-appliance,” “first-rate,” or “top-notch” when they precede a noun like “repairman.” The hyphen clears up any confusion about which words are working together.
The other mistake was that I didn’t choose a gender-neutral term (like “repair person” or “technician”). Good old-fashioned public humiliation helped me to finally internalize this rule and reminded me to be even more conscientious about my word choice. I would thank my smart-alecky colleagues, but I’m still holding a grudge.

You can read more about this rule at the Grammarist website. Enjoy your day.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Technical Editor | Symitar®
8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

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