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  1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Hyphen(s) necessary?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, Apr 27, 2014.

    Nonfiction ... No recasts, please. :)

    a 10%-off coupon
    or
    a 10% off coupon

    a ten-percent-off coupon
    or
    a ten percent off coupon

    This is a coupon entitling the buyer to save 10% off the listed price.

    Which are your picks in these two?

    Thank you.
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    According to the Webster's Compact Writers Guide, percentages are always written without a hyphen.

    In other words, you'd write 10% in a technical document, and either 10 percent, or ten percent in a non-technical piece.

    I can't find an exact corrollary to the percentage attached to the coupon, though. I'm inclined to go for a hyphen before 'off' in the non-technical cases. (I can't see a coupon being written about in a technical document.)

    a 10 percent-off coupon
    a ten percent-off coupon

    However, I am not certain this is right. You really do come up with some brain twisters, don't you? o_O
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
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  3. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Yes, I am known to come up with those questions that aren't usually covered.

    Thank you for taking the time to reply. I appreciate it.

    :)
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't have a grammar guide handy, but using hyphens looks right (i.e., "ten-percent-off coupon"). I would also write the number out instead of using numerals, but that might just be me being picky.
     
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  5. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thank you, too, thirdwind. Appreciated.
     
  6. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I agree with what's been said. In technical documents, percentages should be written numerically (e.g. 10%). As for non technical documents, one should write them out as @jannert has explained. For whichever convention you choose to use, remember that is important to stay consistent. Meaning, if you use 10 percent, you should write other values as 5 percent and 20 percent, not 10 percent and twenty percent.

    With regards to the coupon question. I suggest using the hyphen because you are forming a compound adjective modifying the word "coupon." If the document is technical, I think it would read as a "10%-off coupon." In either of the other forms, I agree with at @thirdwind's construction because the adjective is three parts, making two hyphens appropriate.


    I'll have to double-check that though, so take it with a grain of salt. ;) I've seen it done without the hyphens for the numerical and written forms.

    Alright, I'm pretty sure I was wrong. According to this section from the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, you would leave it open. Click the link and scroll to page 2:
    http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/images/ch07_tab01.pdf
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  7. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    or...
    upload_2014-4-27_14-54-31.png
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Does anyone have a CMoS account? There are a few similar questions on their forum, but you need an account to access it. Not having the hyphens just seems weird to me.
     
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  9. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thanks, Andrae.

    You're very kind.

    Based on the hyphenation guide,

    a 20 percent-off coupon or a twenty percent-off coupon is the right fit.

    The extra hyphen after 20 / twenty does not aid reading comprehension and, to me, is superfluous.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  10. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I agree, @thirdwind . I would think to use the hyphens, but I've seen it done without them and the CMoS says leave them off in that instance. It seems odd not to use them since we're trying to create a single modifier for the word "coupon."

    Mayhaps comeone with more experience than myself, or with an account can answer more accurately.

    You're definitely welcome, @dillseed, but now I'm interested in knowing what is really correct ha ha. Something about what you've presented seems right though. I'll have to second guess my instincts.
     
  11. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Some may argue, though, that a complete phrasal adjective needs hyphens throughout, as in:

    a 20-percent-a-year growth in revenues

    or

    an eleven-pound-eight-ounce FedEx package
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  12. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    This language is crazy!
     
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  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    This!

    Mind you, maybe not so much, when you think about it. You wouldn't say ten-dollars, would you? So why would you say ten-percent?

    That's two reputable sources that say you don't hyphenate percentages, so I won't, from now on. But I'll stick to hyphenating the 'off,' because ...well, because... It makes the adjectival nature of this example more obvious? That's my reason, and I'm sticking to it!

    Our problem is, we're looking for consistency in the rules of grammar—and unfortunately English isn't a consistent language. I feel sorry for people learning it as a second language, when we who grew up with it still grapple with this kind of thing. We natives shrug off the inconsistencies and develop a discerning ear and eye, or make mistakes all the time, or become nitpicky writers, glued to our style and grammar manuals. And sometimes even the style manuals don't agree. Newbies to English must be pulling hair out in huge tufts.
     
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  14. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Actually, I don't feel too bad for those who are learning it as a second language because they can function very well in Anglophone societies without knowing all these grammar rules. It's us weird ones who obsess over little nidges like this (I know that's not a noun, but I'm coining it if no one else has :p). Your reasoning makes god sense to me though.
     
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  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    @Andrae Smith - 'nidges.' As somebody who lives with 'midges,' I can appreciate this new word! Both are a nuisance, but you can't ignore them.
     
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  16. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    I’m follicly challenged (bicced, shiny head à la Bruce Willis), so I don’t have luxuriant locks of hair to pull out. (LOL)
     
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  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the only hyphen i see being mandatory is the one before 'off'...
     
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  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That's what happens when you study grammar for too long...
     
  19. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    LOL
     

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