Re: Comma, Comma, Comma (Should we or Shouldn't we) -Reply

Subject: Re: Comma, Comma, Comma (Should we or Shouldn't we) -Reply
From: Bill Burns <WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 9 May 1995 08:16:54 MDT

Diane said:

>>Since "iterate" [sic] is modifying "computer" only and certainly not

I disagree. "Computer literate" acts as a predicate adjective here modifying
"he." Whether or not you use a hyphen here depends upon the style guide that
you follow. Personally, I don't find them useful when they modify the subject.
I rely on the stress of the words to determine whether a compound predicate
adjective should be hyphenated. In most cases I can think of (and barring
obvious foreign borrowings), compound adjectives that occur before a noun have
a single primary stress:

The out'-of-date book was a cause of much distress to the aging

I stress only the first word of the compound here. (Of course, my analysis
could be leading me astray, or this matter could be based on dialectical
variation.) When I use the compound as a predicate adjective, I use two
primary stresses:

The book was out'-of-date'.

Some people might even stress all three syllables here, depending upon their
idiodialect. What occurs here, then, is a distinction between these terms.
The first example has a compound used as a single word. The second treats each
word as a separate entity. Since hyphens are used primarily to connect words as
single entities, I don't use them in the second instance.

The initial question addressed the use of the comma preceding the conjunction
in a series of more than two. If any confusion arises from the final two items
in a list set off by commas, I use a comma before the conjunction. If no
confusion arises, I leave the preconjunction comma out. This rule is consistent
in one respect, but consistent in a different way (i.e., not visually

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

"If you take hyphens seriously, you will surely go mad."

John Benbow

Bill Burns *
Assm. Technical Writer/Editor * LIBERTY, n. One of Imagination's most
Micron Technology, Inc. * precious possessions.
Boise, ID *
WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM * Ambrose Bierce

Previous by Author: Re: "Sexual Harassment" ?
Next by Author: Re: Comma, Comma, Comma (Should we or Shouldn't we)
Previous by Thread: Re: Comma, Comma, Comma (Should we or Shouldn't we) -Reply
Next by Thread: Re: Comma, Comma, Comma (Should we or Shouldn't we)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads