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  1. ThenColmSaid

    ThenColmSaid New Member

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    Hyphen

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by ThenColmSaid, Oct 19, 2016.

    I seem to be writing a lot of posts about grammar recently, but it's the little niggly parts that throw me through a loop.

    I was wondering which is correct when it comes to triple modifiers because I've seen this done two ways:

    1) ... causing for the tails of his coal- and ash-coloured jacket to flap gently like bat wings against a breeze.

    or

    2) ... causing for the tails of his coal-and-ash-coloured jacket to flap gently like bat wings against a breeze.

    Thanks again and in advance, you heroes.
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Dark, is it not? Contributor

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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    I think you need to use your hyphens a tad bit more sparingly. Or for where they count in linking two words together.

    Cause in either of those sentences they are unneeded.
    So it would be fine to drop them, and the sentence would be fine.
    I am not sure what is being modified. Only a brief description of a jacket.
    Unless his jacket got remarried and wanted to keep it's last name and
    take it's partners, lose the hyphens.

    Though I am not familiar seeing hyphens being used in such a way.
    I hope you get a second opinion, cause I don't know all the rules
    of using a hyphen.

    Good Luck. :supersmile:
     
  3. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I had to choose one of your examples, I'd pick number two.

    That said, I'm not sure why you'd choose two descriptions for colors which are pretty similar. Coal and ash are both dark gray/black. Why use both of those words? You could pick one and eliminate the issue. triple modifiers like that almost always look awkward to me, grammatically correct or not.
     
  4. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    It conjured an image in my mind of fabric having the look of mottled slate.
    Was that what you were after @ThenColmSaid ?
     
  5. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale "Cue the artillery" Contributor

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    Hmm, I'd pick number one. This article from the Grammar Girl indirectly supports my opinion. It doesn't specifically state that there should be a space between modifier #1 and the "and", but the second subheading is titled:

    Double- or Triple-Word Modifiers

    Note the space between "Double-" and "or".

    That having been said, and I don't know if I made an authoritative case or not, I agree with @SethLoki that it does sound like mottled slate, so perhaps describing it in a different way might be best.

    And if anyone can show me that my idea about the hyphen is wrong, please do so, I've been known to use the same sort of constructions in my own writing.
     
  6. ThenColmSaid

    ThenColmSaid New Member

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    Yeah, that was exactly what I was going for. I'm probably just making it more difficult for myself and could just pick one of the two descriptions, but it's best to find out how these sort of things are laid out grammatically because the problem is most likely going to present itself at some other point.

    Thank you all very much!
     
  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributing Member

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    No. 2 is the one you want to use.
     

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