1. lameri
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    lameri New Member

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    Combination words not in the dictionary

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by lameri, Nov 21, 2011.

    Most dictionaries don't have "healthless," but I'd like to use it. What sounds better?
    1- Poor Sasha, loveless and health-less. (Standard.)
    2- Poor Sasha, loveless and healthless. (Use it anyway.)
    3- Poor Sasha, loveless and healthless (Italicize only the "less.")

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    In here, for example, I'd like to use "mis" in italics, instead of just write "behavior." I've seen that strategy before, but I'd like to know your thoughts.
    (taking about letting your wait for hours) ...a common misbehavior at the medical center.

    Thanks.
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd go with the accepted usage. Editors I'm sure would change it, anyway. Same with the italics thing (personally, I dislike writers trying to stage-direct my reading that way).
     
  3. art
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    art Senior Member Contributor

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    Go with 'healthless.' A happy, useful word. Entirely acceptable if somewhat out of favour. Google ngrams is great for these sorts of queries.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    'misbehavior' is a word, so italicizing part of it makes no sense...
     
  5. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    lots of words seem to be used with less to express the opposite.
    what does healthless means?
    you can have healthy but healthless does not mean much because you can have someone without health otherwise she would not be alive.
    the same with loveless.
    I don't say I have love.
    I say I feel love.
    less is when you can actually put a number in front a word like you say you have one or two clues because you can list them.
    so cluless seems appropriate with this word.
    you cannot list one or two loves or healths so less does not quite fit.
    I would use a different word to illustrate what you mean.
    this is my understanding of it.
    if we were to use less for every word we can think of then we might as well get rid of synonyms right?
    plus it makes a better read to have new words or opposite words or a description like using 'purple prose' rather then using less twice in one sentence.
    this is how I see it:)
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That's incorrect. I think that you're thinking of "fewer", not "less". "Fewer" usually does imply that the item under discussion can be counted. "Less" just means... less. Not as much.

    As well, the word "less" and the use of those same characters in words like hopeless, penniless, childless, and so on, don't mean the same thing - when those characters are at the end of the word, they mean that there's none of whatever it is. Hopeless means that there is _no_ hope, not a smaller amount of hope. Penniless means no pennies, childless means no children.

    ChickenFreak
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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