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  • 1. Punctuating Words
    Notes from The Well-Tempered Sentence
    Karen Elizabeth Gordon
    Lapsing into Comma by Bill Walsh
    Woe is I by Patricia O’Connor
  • 2. Who needs words when we have this flasher!
    !
  • 3. An Exclamation Point
    Begins with the writer’s emotions and intentions and demands that the reader feels them too.
    Loud noises, sudden actions.
    Thwack!
    Apology, endearment, reproach, menace, discovery, supplication, protest, name-calling, irony, dread and astonishment.
    Verb-less sentences.
    Interrogatory sentences.
  • 4. Let’s Try It Out!
    Look at his cumbersome biceps!
    His very own flesh and blood!
    Stop acerbating me!
    Aargh!
    How did you pour your big body into that paper airplane!
    Ooh-la- la!
  • 5. A Period
    A period is the closing mark for declarative sentences, mildly imperative sentences, and verb-less sentences that are not questioning or exciting.
    There were never enough bodies around for all the souls who wanted to jump in them.
    Come here, you little rascal.
    His own mother, too.
  • 6. A comma
    A comma is a delicate kink in time, a pause within a sentence, a chance to catch your breath.
    I fondled his lapel, and I caressed his socks.
  • 7. Compounds & Hyphenation?
    Tabletop?
    Table top?
    Table-top?
    You have to look it up in the dictionary.
  • 8. Compounds are formed differently with different parts of speech.
    Compound nouns follow no particular logic. Check your style-book and your dictionary, and if a compound isn’t listed in either, then it’s two words—unless it’s a verb-plus—preposition formation.
    Backache, backbeat, backbite and back seat back pain
    Back yard (noun) Backyard (adjective
    Backyard barbecue
    We played in the back yard.
  • 9. Verb plus proposition compound nouns
    When something is made over, it’s a make-over; when something is built up, it’s a buildup; when someone is knocked down, it’s a knockdown; when someone breaks in, it’s a break-in; when you print something out, it’s a printout.
    Verb versus noun---do you see the difference?
  • 10. Compound Verbs should be hyphenated!
    Holyfield head-butted his opponent.
    I copy-edited the story.
    She pole-vaulted.
  • 11. Compound modifiers generally must be hyphenated
    A victory on the home field is a home-field victory.
    There are exceptions to the hyphenate-all-compound-modifiers rule:
    Single proper noun
    Single expression contained in quotations marks
    Foreign-language phrases
    Percentages and dollar amounts
    And then just exceptions that editors use
  • 12. Exceptions
    High school graduate
    Clinton administration officials
    Ice cream cone
    Real estate agent
    Law enforcement officer
    Health care plan
  • 13. Some editors are phobic of hyphens
    Have a rule that eliminates the hyphen from modifiers unless doing so would result in confusion.
    Orange juice salesman
    Orange-juice salesman
    Orange salesman?
    Small business man
    Small-business man
  • 14. Fool’s Compounds
    Grilled cheese sandwich
    Is not grilled-cheese sandwich or a sandwich of grilled cheese
    Color tv sets not color-tv sets or sets of color tv
  • 15. Two Adjectives and a Comma
    A comma can be inserted between two adjectives if an “and” can be inserted between them.
    Peachy, creamy complexion
    Peachy and creamy complexion
    WRONG:
    Peachy-creamy complexion is not a complexion of peachy creamy…..
  • 16. Think About The Three Doubles
    Adjective-adjective noun
    Adjective adjective noun
    Adjective, adjective noun
  • 17. A hyphen connects some compound words used as nouns and adjectives.
    This was a curiosity-provoking peepshow said the pseudo sophisticated ball of fire to the pink-faced stick-in-the-mud as they cuddled half-heartedly over a pint of beer in a gothic-hole-in-the-wall.
  • 18. A hyphen is not used when a compound adjective or modifier follows the noun.
    He pounded on her ill-tempered clavicles.
    His clavicles were ill tempered.
    The starry-eyed sycophant prowled about…
    The sycophant looked starry eyed.
  • 19. When a compound begins with an adverb ending in “ly”, no hyphen is allowed.
    A freakishly attired ombudsman…
  • 20. What to Do? Look below for a smattering of compound words:
    No-win situation
    Painkiller
    Archfiend
    Star-crossed
    Bankroll
    Credit card
    Amateur night
    Razzmatazz
  • 21. Look It UP in the Dictionary.
  • 22. If you are compounding your own perceptions into new words—hyphenate!
    I was lurch-left by his abnegation.
    They broke the story with such extra-extra-read-all-about-it-verisimilitude…
  • 23. You can have hyphenated first names:
    Too-Too Lablanca
  • 24. Hyphens can show hesitation or stuttering A-A-AH-CHOO!
  • 25. S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G out of words
  • 26. Compound numbers from 21 to 39 and fractions
    Twenty-one
    Two-thirds
  • 27. Join numbers with other words
    Seven-year itch!
  • 28. Hyphens can be used to spell out ages given
    Fifty-six-year-old corpse…
    Wildman will be seventy-five years old tomorrow.
  • 29. THE END