Hyphens, En Dashes, Em Dashes
Q. Our office compiles, edits, and publishes the laws and statutes for the state legislature. Some people in the office are averse to hyphenating phrasal adjectives, particularly ones that consist of open compounds, because they feel “these are terms recognized by everyone and are unnecessary to hyphenate. There is no confusion when reading ‘wild rice industry,’ ‘general fund appropriation,’ ‘high school student.’ These terms are instantly recognizable.” A bit presumptuous, no? A good editor helps the reader, especially when it comes to law and litigation. How does one decide whether a term is known to everyone in the world?
Q. According to the CMOS hyphenation guide, number + noun modifiers call for a hyphen, but what about noun + number modifiers? I’m interested in cases such as “stage-2 cancer” versus “stage 2 cancer” and “stage-C3 HIV” versus “stage C3 HIV.” My suspicion is that the answer is in fact to forgo the hyphen.
Q. Hi, I am working on a publication which uses imperial measurements and have been asked to provide the metric equivalent in parentheses. I am not sure how to deal with this when the measurements form a hyphenated compound adjective before a noun. Using an example from your hyphenation table, three-inch-high statuette, would the hyphen placement in the following conversion be reasonable? three-inch (eight-centimeter)-high statuette? Many thanks.
Q. In “number + noun” of the CMOS hyphenation table, you say “Hyphenated before a noun, otherwise open.” You include the following examples: “a one-and-a-half-inch hem” and “one and a half inches.” As “inch” is a noun and “one and a half” is a number/quantity, why not “one-and-a-half inches”?
Q. I’m in the process of editing an article and the author is using a neologism of sorts. He’s taken the word digital and is using it as a verb—digitaling. The author is insisting on adding a hyphen (digital-ing) so that it’s clearer to the reader. I think it’s unnecessary, as there would be no confusion without it.
Q. Dear Chicago experts, can you please help resolve this hyphenation issue? Should it be “worm composting expert” or “worm-composting expert”? Should it be “worm composting master” or “worm-composting master”? Thank you very much.
Q. How would you punctuate an invented noun? I am editing a theoretical work that uses adjective + -ness to come up with new forms of abstract concepts along the lines of Americanness and pinkness. For both of those words, I would close the suffix and omit the hyphen; my author has them separated with a hyphen (pink-ness). Which is correct style?
Q. Is it OK to hyphenate a word at the end of a line that is already a hyphenated word? It looks really awkward to me, and I always call attention to this double hyphenation when I am editing/copyediting. Am I being too prissy? I can’t find anything about this in Chicago.
Q. Do I not have the hyphenation correct in phrases like “3-D printing” and “2-D projection”? I figure that they feature an abbreviation of the word dimensional being used as an attributive compound adjective, so they do call for hyphenation. I ask because one often encounters the abbreviations styled as 3D and 2D. Am I being overly fussy?
Q. Does half need a hyphen when modifying a verb? For example, “He half listened to her story” or “She half walked, half ran.”