Re: E-mail with a hyphen?

Subject: Re: E-mail with a hyphen?
From: "Linda H. Schoenhoff" <lhs -at- UNIFY -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 17:17:10 PST

Karen asks:

>My question is what about cars? I think of the rear seat of my car as the
>'back seat' of the car, but I've seen 'backseat' in novels, and finally
>looked it up! And that's right! And I hate it!

karenk -at- netcom -dot- com

My dictionary shows back seat as two words. It also shows
back-seat driver with a hyphen. So many of these hyphenated
words behave one way as nouns, another as adjectives. I wouldn't
be surprised to find backseat (as an adjective) as one word,
but back seat (as a noun) may prove more resistant to merging.

There's also the situation where certain adverb-participle
combinations take the hyphen before the word they modify, but not
if they occur after the modified word. I think the best we can do
is look at several grammar and usage publications, see where they
agree and disagree, then form an opinion on the style we'll adopt for
ourselves or our departments.

Hyphenation seems to be subject to more rules and more exceptions
than many other punctuation "rules." But whatever position you takeon
a given issue, there'll be a style guide or textbook (text book?)
somewhere to support it!

Linda Schoenhoff
lhs -at- unify -dot- com

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