Q. I have an online content editor who says “mental health official” should be hyphenated: e.g., “he placed three county mental-health officials on administrative leave.” As a mental health professional, I say no. What say you?
Q. With words such as “PowerPoint,” the capital letters are retained when the words are melded. Is there a label for this category of words?
Q. I am a primary teacher. I am currently teaching about compound words and have discovered that I am making errors. Some words that I thought were compound are not. However, when I look them up in different sources or look at signs, they are written both as compounds and closed. Would you please tell me how I can find a list of compound words without looking up each word in the dictionary? Thank you.
Q. I work for a journal at a government agency. The departments and committees and journals within the agency all have varying styles, especially for hyphenation and compounds, which resulted in the following really ugly title: Influenza Vaccination of Health-Care Personnel: Recommendations of the Healthcare Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). It looked even worse in big, bold type. What should we have done?
Q. There’s a club for people who’ve worked at my office for twenty-five or more years. It is called the Twenty-Five Year Club. I am wondering why they never added a hyphen between “five” and “year” and also if it’s okay to retain the capital letters for all the words that are hyphenated. I don’t want to rock the boat around here for a club that’s been in existence longer than all of us have been in the Publications Office. We are preparing the program for their annual dinner and latest round of inductees. Should we let them retain their old name? Has this come up in other places?
Q. When I entered an incorrect password for your website, I received this message: “Invalid Log In.” Shouldn’t “log in” be “login” in this case?
Q. Is login a verb or only a noun? I’m wondering because the following sentence seems wrong to me: “To login to your personal account, enter your user name and password.” Shouldn’t it say log in as two words rather than login?
Q. I’m editing a manuscript that uses the terms over-commitment and under-commitment, sometimes in the same paragraph. The writers have hyphenated both terms. Does it look inconsistent to make the first term one word and the second term two words? Would it be less jarring to hyphenate both, as they have done? I’m fine with overcommitment as one word and under commitment as two, but I need some backing up so I can remove the unnecessary hyphens.
Q. Is there a rule I can point to in self-defense to justify the following hyphenation of compound nouns: “in private- and business life”? Business life is an unhyphenated compound noun in this sentence, but the first term, private, is hyphenated by virtue of being separated from the second term of its compound form, life. Does that sound right?
Q. I recently read an article about a con artist who was described as “running a fine wine scam.” The ambiguity—is it a fine scam with wine or a scam with fine wine?—is driving me to drink. Is it acceptable in this situation to write finewine as one word to resolve the ambiguity? Please uncork me a good answer.