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  1. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    'Unified' rather than 'suspended' compounds

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by dillseed, Dec 19, 2014.

    I did thorough and extensive research on this topic and was wondering whether or not you'd agree with my proposed bulleted exemplars below.

    In Edward D. Johnson’s book The Handbook of Good English, he says:

    “Note that 'I bought ten- to twenty-year bonds' is wrong, because the compound is meant to indicate a range of bond maturities, not two separate bond categories, and it should be unified rather than suspended":

    I bought ten-to-twenty-year bonds.

    The Copyeditor’s Handbook, by Amy Einsohn, subscribes to this notion:

    (Note: In a phrase like
    ten-to-fifteen-minute traffic delays, the ten to fifteen constitutes a unit—an approximation of length of the backup—and it is therefore not a suspended compound.

    Correct:
    ten-to-fifteen-minute traffic delays

    Incorrect:
    ten- to fifteen-minute traffic delays

    All this said, and based on the two sources above, would you concur that the examples below are correct?

    Sorry for the extensive list.

    • a 15-to-20-year prison term
    • a group of 10-to-15-year-olds
    • 10-to-15-year-old athletes
    • 20-to-30-pound weight loss
    • 7-to-15-foot pieces of plywood
    • 75-to-80-cent-a-week raises
    • $10-million-to-$20-million-per-year job
    • $100,000-to-$120,000-a-year savings • a seven-to-ten-day process
    • a two-to-three-hour rain delay
    • a five-to-ten-minute explication
    • a five-to-seven-year term
    • a 15-to-20-percent-a-year savings
    • a 15-to-20-foot hole
    • a three-to-five-mile hike
    •a 1-to-3-inch-deep laceration
    •a five-to-ten-degree temperature difference
    •a four-to-seven-month hiatus
    •25-to-45-minute intervals
    •a seven-to-twelve-pound baby
    •a 150-to-200-calorie meal

    Do you agree, then, based on the two sources above, that all bulleted examples are correct? No suggested recasts, please.

    ...and, the only time a compound is truly suspended is when we use 'and' or 'or', as in:

    25- and 30-year mortgages (only two types of mortgage durations are meant here).

    5- or 10-year leases (same logic)

    ...yes or no to the 2 examples (and logic) above?

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2014
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You don't need the dashes when using 'to'. You would use the dash in lieu of 'to'. Same with 'and' and 'or' in those examples, no dashes.
     
  3. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thanks, GingerCoffee.

    Could you please write one of those examples as you would do it?

    Many, many thanks.
     
  4. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Wait.

    I think this is what you meant:

    • a 15 to 20 year prison term
    • a group of 10 to 15 year olds
    (Only this looks like we're referring to a group of 10 to 15 "year-olds".)
    • 10 to 15 year old athletes
    • 20 to 30 pound weight loss
    • 7 to 15 foot pieces of plywood
    • 75 to 80 cent a week raises
    • $10 million to $20 million per year job
    • $100,000 to $120,000 a year savings
    • a seven to ten day process
    • a two to three hour rain delay
    • a five to ten minute explication
    • a five to seven year term
    • a 15 to 20 percent a year savings
    • a 15 to 20 foot hole
    • a three to five mile hike
    •a 1 to 3 inch deep laceration
    •a five to ten degree temperature difference
    •a four to seven month hiatus
    •25 to 45 minute intervals
    •a seven to twelve pound baby
    •a 150 to 200 calorie meal
    •25 and 30 year mortgages
    •5 or 10 year leases
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Yes, by George, you've got it. :)

    Otherwise:
    10-15 year old athletes
    a 1-3 inch deep laceration

    and so on, except the dash does not replace 'and' or 'or', it only replaces 'to'.

    25 and 30 year mortgages
     
  6. dillseed
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    dillseed Active Member

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    Thanks for your help. One last question.

    If I didn't use ranges – as exampled above – would I still omit the hyphens?

    •a four year old / a four year old kid
    •a seven month hiatus
    •45 minute intervals
    •a twelve pound baby
    •a 200 calorie meal
    •30 year mortgages
    •10 year leases
    •a seven year term
    •30 pound weight loss
    •80 cent a week raises
    •a 5 pound 11 ounce baby
    •a 6 foot 5 inch man
    •a 10 degree temperature difference
    •a five mile hike
    •a 20 foot hole

    And, alternatively, with ranges [and the use of the hyphen to mean 'to']:

    •a 10-20 pound weight loss
    •a 4-7 month hiatus
    •20-30 year mortgages
    •a 7-10 day process
    •a 2-3 hour rain delay
    •a group of 10-15 year olds
    •a 5 to 10 foot hole

    And so on and so forth... Good to all bulleted examples above? This is much cleaner without all the [suspended] hyphenation gobbledygook, agreed?

    I think that modern punctuation is steering away from all types of punctuation utter – especially hyphens – as long as ambiguity does not result.

    Good to every example above? This is my final query on this.

    Thanks for all your help.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2014
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    They all look good. There is a rule about hyphenating double adjectives when they mean a single thing:
    This is one of those fuzzy rules that can sometimes go either way. I believe Grammar Girl, who is mostly but not always perfectly correct, has it right on this one. It's worth reading the page.
     

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