1. victo
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    victo Active Member

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    ... were non-life-threatening

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by victo, Jun 22, 2015.

    Which is the correct punctuation of "non life threatening" below?

    (1) The injuries were non-life-threatening.
    (2) The injuries were nonlife threatening.
    (3) The injuries were non-life threatening.

    Thank you.
     
  2. victo
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    victo Active Member

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    Please delete the extra posts. My computer froze and I pressed "enter" multiple times. I now have four identical posts. Sorry.
     
  3. victo
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    victo Active Member

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    Or is there a way that I can delete the three extra posts?
     
  4. victo
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    victo Active Member

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    Or is there a way that I can delete the three extra posts?
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would just say "The injuries were not life-threatening."
     
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  6. victo
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    victo Active Member

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    I would, too, but you always here news reporters say, "... were non-life-threatening." So how would you punctuate it? I say two hyphens are mandatory here.
     
  7. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Given the assumption that someone insists on phrasing it this way at all, yes, I agree with two hyphens.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, using two hyphens is correct.
     
  9. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    I have to agree with others here and say, "non-life-threatening."
     
  10. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Double hyphenation looks clumsy. I'd just use not life-threatening.

    The danger of double hyphenation as I see it - (non-life)-threatening.
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well the first example may look a bit clumsy, and I think it should be reworded as @ChickenFreak suggested. But the second two are actually wrong.

    Nonlife is not a word. So that's wrong, because you're presenting it as if it is.

    And non-life is completely weird. What does non-life mean? The hyphen is used to connect two words that, when taken together, constitute a new meaning. So non-life? Something considered inanimate, like a rock? So a rock is threatening? (Well, okay, it can be, if somebody is throwing one at you, or it's hurtling down a mountainside and about to crush your car ...oh, wait, no, it's the rock itself that is being threatened! Because the stuff that is inanimate is being threatened ....gosh, where are we going with this...?)

    Erm ...stick with the first, if you must. Or re-write, for a better sounding (and looking) phrase.
     

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