This week: Rules of Hyphenation Edited by: I like big books #2233315
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Hyphenation is used to clarify certain sets of words. They're best used sparingly. When overused, they tend to just muck up your prose and do the opposite. Because they can be easily mistaken and used improperly, many writers avoid them like the plague. Hopefully this will help a bit for those of us needing clarification.
Used as Adjectives
When the words are used as an age or size that identifies a person or object, use a hyphen. Remember though, it has to identify them. Simply saying twelve year old doesn't mean the words should automatically require a hyphen. When we refer to a twelve-year-old boy, the hyphens follow the rule for one-thought adjectives. The hyphens are used when we make the phrase a noun. For example: "He is a typical twelve-year-old." No hyphens are used when the phrase is positioned differently, such as: "The boy is twelve years old."
Adjective/nouns combos with "-ED" suffixes are also connected with hyphens. This is done to clarify (once again) by attaching a modifier to the word they modify. A good example is: "light-haired man", which is a man with light hair, while a "light haired man" sounds like a man who weighs very little and is covered in hair.
Hyphens are also used when using fractions/measurements in descriptions such as: My father is one-half Cherokee.
There are other ways adjectives can and cannot be used with hyphens. For example, as in "a ripe, red tomato." The meaning is a ripe tomato and a red tomato or a ripe and red tomato. But a low-budget job, in contrast, is not a low job and a budget job or a low and budget job. Remember, hyphens are used for clarity. There is a big difference between a dirty-movie theater and a dirty movie theater.
Hyphens are used with the prefixes such as: "ex-", "self-" and "all-" such as "ex-wife". We also use them when referring to relatives with "great-" such as "great-grandfather". Using them to prevent recurring vowels and mispronunciation can also avoid confusion. Two examples would be: the word "re-establish" and "a chicken cannot re-lay an egg," as opposed to, "Can you relay the message to Dad?"
We don't use hyphens as a modifier using a letter or numeral as the second element. One example is a Type IV antibody, a Class A priority. However, when written as words, fractions and cardinal numbers consisting of two words, the words are hyphenated. For example: " twenty-three", "twenty-fifth", or "two-thirds".
In the case of compound words, a good rule of thumb is, if the word does not appear in the dictionary as a single word, you're safe to use a hyphen. Some examples are: "merry-go-round", "editor-in-chief" and "half-mast". Some words that were in the past hyphenated have become more common and dictionaries have made some compound hyphenated words singular words. When in doubt, check your dictionary.
Write and Review on! ~ Brooke
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"Invalid Item"  by A Guest Visitor
"Invalid Item"  by A Guest Visitor
This month I'm featuring some work from brand new members that caught my eye. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
"Last Saturday, the Classical Five created a musical flash mob by performing Boléro in the middle of the subway station," I read from her diary. I wiped away the tears that fell down my cheeks. She was just too young, too young to go. I was pounded with more memories of the beautiful and unforgettable times I had experienced with her. I would never find her again, never be able to laugh with her, and never be able to celebrate with her.
As the stars are falling,
I call out a wish:
to end this good night,
with a passionate kiss.
Strolling casually through the quiet street lined with skyscrapers. On rare occasions, a skimmer would disrupt the peace by stirring up whips of air as they flew past. I steadily made my way toward Willus's Who-zits & What-zits Gadgets Shop. There, Willus and I, create gadgets and weapons for the Robo-Resistance.
I looked up into the mirror, and took a close look at myself. My hair was a mess. My makeup, which I didn't have much of, was running in streaks down my face. Had I been crying? I couldn't concentrate. I looked down at the floor, then back up at myself. My eyes, as blue as they normally are, didn't look so blue. Instead, they were a dirty, bloodshot red. They were dried out, worse than they had ever been. My muscles, which ached more than I think they ever have, could barely support my legs as I dragged myself back into my room. I laid down on my bed, closed my eyes, and try to elaborate the things that happened last night.
The afternoon prior to my first child's birth was spent at my in-law's home. We happened to be there, sitting in their garden. They lived in a beautiful townhouse in the west end of Toronto at the time and my husband of just over a year had a strong bond with his parents. Somehow it seemed appropriate that we should be there when it all began. It was a hot August day. My ankles had been swollen for a few weeks and I felt as large as a house. The pregnant mothers of today sit around in tank tops and shorts but in 1988 the shape of a pregnant woman's body was still something to be hidden away. I sat in my effusive white cotton moomoo panting and quietly noticing the contractions as they began.
I began it as an investigation, talking to the men who worked with him, drank with him, even those who, for one reason or another, disliked him, making notes, hoping to get a fix on the way it happened.
The phone call had come in the earliest hour of Friday morning. The gravel tones of the caller unmistakable.
"Frank's gone..." is all I remember 'Snowy' McCloud saying.
July Twelfth, the middle of summer between our Junior and Senior year at Winona High School. We had grown up next door in the south. Our mothers were best friends, fathers drank at the bar and went golfing together every Sunday after church. Now Samuel was driving a rusted old Chevy pickup in cherry red. Lord, I couldn't ever get him to take my truck, he even insisted on taking the rusting hunk of metal to job interviews. Needless to say, he doesn't have a job. We had been attached at the hip since we started kindergarden. So, by the time high school hit I was crushing on Sam and we have been a couple ever since.
Try defining your relationships. No, you don't need a shrink or a self help novel. Don't ask a friend or follow some algorithm or old family recipe for happy days. Just imagine you're dropping that person off at the airport.
John new this intuitively before he even got there. Although it only dawned on him a few days after Tracy boarded the flight to Durban. He new he felt good about things, the future, that he was doing the right thing - being a good father.
"Why don't you fly down, it's quicker?"
'Eight o'clock. Tuesday. Have to get a move on!' Henry sat up in bed, turned off the alarm and placed his hand on his chest, more in acknowledgement of the palpitations which had immediately commenced, than for any other reason. He swallowed bile. 'An hour should be plenty of time,' he thought, 'but perhaps I should have breakfast first, just to make sure, and that will probably take care of the bile, too.'
I stand before a run-down cottage hunkered back from the street behind a picket fence framing a front lawn overgrown with weeds and untrimmed bushes. A sign posted on the gate reads: Please Go Away.
My name is Barry Bullitt; people call me BB. I am a sort of odd job guy in this town. I'm also the postman. The name on the parcel I have to deliver this morning is addressed to Jeremiah Crump, 102 Elm Crescent. The last time I had to drop off anything at this address was on the 29th of February, four years ago.
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Must the editor be saluted! What an inspiring work! Secrets of successful writing offered! You are your words! You are what you speak or write freely! It was fantastic; I wish to learn more.... life is too short to know the art of writing what I wish to speak.....
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Wonderfull newsletter! I love all the help it gives me, and how it encourages everyone to keep on writing.
This newsletter is definitely a keeper! I do two of the bad writing habits that you mentioned, using more words than I need to, like: 'he said, setting his coffee down' or 'he walked to the couch and sat down'. So, I'm off to do some editing. This is a very helpful newsletter and I thank you, Brooke.
From Michael Thomas-Knight
Thank you, Brooke, for including my story, 'Brown Paper Bag', in your recent newsleter. I appreciate the acknowledgement. Once again, you've relayed important tips for improving one's writing.
"Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule." - Stephen King
So thesauruses contain no useful words?
How would Mr King suggest we grow our vocabularies, I wonder. That's the stupidest rule I've ever read. right up there with his, Never use adverbs ending in "ly."
How can a person write anything substantial anywhere on writing.com in 1,000 words or less. If thats all i can do its really not worth the effort is it?
Another excellent Noticing Newbies. It makes me see my own mistakes. Some great quotes. They make good memory markers for the mind.
I like to read these they have good tips and stuff in them.
This was the first writing.com newsletter I've read, and I can say it was inspiring! Though I'm not the best editor out there, I am an avid writer who has taken great notice of the tips you gave here! I can see for certain a few of the mistakes I've been making as a newbie and feel super inspired to take a look through and make some modifications. Can't thank you enough!
I am learning all the time! This newsletter gave me a few things to think about. I read somewhere that all you need are 3 adjectives to describe a person in a short story. But make them count! Maybe 3 is too many??
From The Cowboy
Brooke,This is good stuff. I am the worlds worst to hang on to a sentence.. And worry my self or my story to death with he and she said. I have a series going to the publisher so I will likely have to edit half of it away.
From ajrwrites commenting on [#4549] "The Five Rules"
I enjoyed your editorial, it was what I needed to hear. I'd been in a well of self doubt for a few months and was finally starting to pull myself out. Your gentle encouragement propelled me out and now I'm ready to start writing again. Thanks ~ Ajrwrites.
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