World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Compound modifier

Article Id: WHEBN0002159216
Reproduction Date:

Title: Compound modifier  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: English grammar, English language, Country lawyer, Manual of Style, Hyphen
Collection: English Grammar, English Language
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Compound modifier

A compound modifier (also called a compound adjective, phrasal adjective, or adjectival phrase) is a compound of two or more attributive words: That is, more than one word that together modify a noun. Compound modifiers are grammatically equivalent to single-word modifiers, and can be used in combination with other modifiers.

The constituent words of compound modifiers need not be adjectives; combinations of nouns, determiners, and other parts of speech are also common: man-eating (shark) and one-way (street).

The punctuation of compound modifiers in English depends on their grammatical role. Attributive compounds—modifiers within the noun phrase —are typically hyphenated, whereas the same compounds used as predicates will typically not be (if they are temporary compounds), unless they are permanent compounds attested as dictionary headwords.

Contents

  • Compound adjectives 1
  • Hyphenation of elements 2
    • Exceptions 2.1
    • Examples 2.2
    • Exceptions 2.3
  • Other languages 3
    • Japanese 3.1
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

Compound adjectives

Compound adjectives, like normal adjectives, modify noun phrases. In the phrases heavy metal detector and heavy-metal detector, the latter is a compound adjective because the modifier is made of two words used in combination.

Note that not all sequences of adjectives (or other types of words) modifying a noun phrase are necessarily parts of one or more compound adjectives. Heavy metal detector and heavy-metal detector refer to subtly different things: in the first, heavy modifies metal detector, to describe a heavy device that detects metals, while in the second example, heavy modifies metal which together modify detector, to describe a device that detects heavy metals.[1]

Hyphenation of elements

Conventionally, and with the support of modern writing guides, compound modifiers that appear before a noun phrase must include a hyphen between each word, subject to certain exceptions. Hyphens are used in this way to prevent confusion; without their use, a reader might interpret the words separately, rather than as a phrase. One or more hyphens join the relevant words into a single idea, a compound adjective.

Exceptions

Major style guides advise consulting a dictionary to determine whether a compound adjective should be hyphenated; compounds entered as dictionary headwords are permanent compounds, and for these, the dictionary's hyphenation should be followed even when the compound adjective follows a noun.[2][3][4] Hyphens are unnecessary in other unambiguous, regularly used compound adjectives.[5]

Examples

  • Man-eating shark (as opposed to man eating shark, which could be interpreted as a man eating the meat of a shark)
  • Wild-goose chase (as opposed to wild goose chase, which could be interpreted as a goose chase that is wild)
  • Long-term contract (as opposed to long term contract, which could be interpreted as a long contract about a term)
  • Zero-liability protection (as opposed to zero liability protection, which could be interpreted as there being no liability protection)

Exceptions

It may be appropriate to distinguish between compound modifiers whose adverb has the suffix -ly, such as quickly and badly, and those whose adverb does not, such as well.[6][7] The -ly suffix on an adverb allows readers to understand its lexical category (if not in the technical sense, then at least in the sense of the intended meaning), showing that it is intended to modify the adjective that it precedes and so not requiring hyphenation.[8] Quickly and badly are unambiguously adverbs. Other adverbs (such as well) can commonly be used as adjectives; therefore these adverbs without the -ly suffix are accompanied by a hyphen. For example, one could speak of a well-known actress or a little-known actress.

Furthermore, the word very in a compound modifier is generally not accompanied by a hyphen.[9] Where both (or all) of the words in a compound modifier are nouns, it is seen as not necessary to hyphenate them, as misunderstanding is unlikely.[10]

If the compound modifier that would otherwise be hyphenated is changed to a post-modifier—one which is located after the modified noun phrase—then the hyphen is conventionally not necessary: the actress is well known.

Other languages

Japanese

Japanese equivalents of adjectives can compound. This is quite common for na-adjectives, which function essentially as attributive noun phrases, while it is relative uncommon for i-adjectives, and is much less common than Japanese compound verbs. Common examples include omo-shiro-i (面白い, interesting) "face-whitening" (noun + i-adjective) and zuru-gashiko-i (狡賢い, sly) "crafty-clever" (i-adjective stem + i-adjective).

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/hyphens_in_compound_adjectives.htm
  2. ^ VandenBos, Gary R., ed. (2010). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). American Psychological Association. section 4.13.  
  3. ^ The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.). University of Chicago Press. 2010. section 7.85.  
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster's Manual for Writers and Editors. Merriam Webster. 1998. p. 73.  
  5. ^ The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.). University of Chicago Press. 2010. section 7.80.  
  6. ^ Hyphens – Punctuation Rules, GrammarBook.com
  7. ^ Guardian and Observer Style Guide (see section on adverbs)
  8. ^ "Spelling and Hyphenation". Northeastern University Guidelines. Northeastern University. Retrieved March 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ Compound Modifiers, DailyWritingTips.com
  10. ^ Compound Modifiers, Writing.com
  • The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. 2003, Clause 5.92, p. 171
  • The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc. (1992)

Further reading

  • "Hyphens" in the Style Guide of the Economist

External links

  • Compound Modifiers at writing.com
  • Questions on Hyphens from the North Carolina State University's Online Writing Lab
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.