1. SethG
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    SethG Member

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    Ranges

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by SethG, Jun 24, 2016.

    The Huffington Post uses hyphens in numerical ranges but not in the modifier parts, like this:

    30-40 year old men
    50-100 mile radius
    15-20 gallon containers
    20 or 30 year mortgages
    20 and 30 year mortgages
    $70-$80 million a year industry
    15-20% a year increase
    $50,000-$60,000 per year income

    Does anybody see a problem with the examples above? I don't. Certainly looks better that way then by using suspended (hanging) hyphens. Agree to punctuation in all examples above?

    But for standalone items they use hyphens:

    40-year-old men
    100-mile radius
    20-gallon containers
    30-year mortgages

    Thank you.
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is similar to another thread you started, right?

    As then, I think the hyphens are sometimes important for clarity, so if you want to be consistent with your usage (which is usually a good goal) I'd expect you to always use the hyphens.

    For example, if you have 15 containers which each hold 20 gallons of liquid, how would you write that? How would you write it if you have 15 to 20 containers which each hold 1 gallon of liquid? And how would you write it if you have several containers each of which holds 15 to 20 gallons of liquid?

    I should be able to understand, from your punctuation, which of those situations I'm looking at.

    So for myself, I'd punctuate as:

    15 containers which each hold 20 gallons of liquid = 15 20-gallon containers
    15 to 20 containers which each hold 1 gallon of liquid = 15-20 1-gallon containers
    several containers each of which holds 15 to 20 gallons of liquid = 15-20-gallon containers

    It's not about what looks better, it's about what accurately conveys information.

    (and my personal choice would be to rewrite the last one as 15- to 20-gallon containers, but you don't like dangling hyphens, right?)
     
  3. SethG
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    SethG Member

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    Thank you, BayView!
     
  4. SethG
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    SethG Member

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    So, these could work? Based on your guidance (excluding suspended hyphenation), I think all of the following look good; do you agree?

    30-40-year-old men
    30-40-, 45-50-, and 55-65-year-olds
    50-100-mile radius
    15-20-gallon containers
    20- or 30-year mortgages
    20- and 30-year mortgages
    a 20%-a-year increase
    a 15-20-percent-a-year increase
    a 20-percent-a-year increase
    $70-$80-million-a-year industry
    15-20%-a-year increase
    $50,000-$60,000-per-year income
    10-15-foot-deep water
    a 50-100-mile radius
    10-12-foot-wide corridors
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  5. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I would write many of those in a very different way, but that's because I have a scientific background.

    For example, where you wrote:
    $70-$80 million a year industry

    I would write:
    $75 million ┬▒$5m a year industry.

    Whenever I want information like that, range does not interest me. I want median, margin of error, and sigma level. I guess it would depend on what I was writing, I wouldn't write that way for a fiction story, but I've always written like that for research papers. You mentioned Huffington Post, what were you reading exactly?
     
  6. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I take back what I said.

    The way I would write it would depend on how the data is distributed between the range.

    If the distribution was even, meaning that all numbers are equally likely, I'd say min-max.
    If the distribution is a bell curve with discrete bounds, I'd say median┬▒margin of error.
    If the distribution is a bell curve with no bounds, I'd say median with a standard deviation of.

    You can use median or average, I like median better because it's an actual sample.
     
  7. SethG
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    SethG Member

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    I emailed the Chicago Manual... they said to hyphenate throughout...

    a $75-million-to-$85-million-a-year industry

    But yet they say to use suspended hyphenation in "a group of eight- to twelve-year-olds."

    Really, what's the difference between the two forms?

    They really don't make much sense, or at the very least are not promoting consistency here.
     

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