1. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    colours

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by zaffy, Aug 28, 2010.

    ruby red
    sea green
    bright orange
    pinky brown
    salmon pink

    Should the above be seperated by hyphens or commas?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    No, they should not. In all these cases, the first word is a modifier to the color, not a modifier to the noun the color modifies.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think it depends on where it appears in a sentence. I'd write "The lipstick was ruby red" without a hyphen, and I'd write "She applied her ruby-red lipstick" with a hyphen.
     
  4. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't use that as a rule, though, Minstrel - just when it happens to be practically a stand-in name for something or else some other thing where the colour description is so important it has to be mentioned every time. If it's vitally plot important that it's ruby red, and the character thinks of it that way, stressing it every time, then for familiarity and all, it'd become the ruby-red lipstick. If you do it for a one-off description it forges an odd link and makes you wonder why it's so important that it's ruby red. Maybe not 100% true grammatically, but emotionally is also very important, and that little hyphen can create a very strong feeling of linkage.

    Rest of the time, I think it should just be ruby red.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    For a couple of these, if the context clearly signals that you're talking about a color, you may not need the second word. For example, to me ruby and salmon _are_ colors, if you're in a clearly color context anyway, as in, "Do you like the blue blouse or the salmon one?"
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The hyphen is not needed for any of these. The only time you need it is if you are specifying a color between two basic colors, e.g. yellow-green or orange-red. Ruby red lipstick would not be hyphenated.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    cog is right... on all points...

    but i have to add that 'pinky' should be 'pinkish' to make any sense, unless a red-hued little finger/toe is what's being referred to...
     

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