Chapter VIII. The Mastery Of The Hyphen
§36. 1. There is still great difference of opinion as to what words should be written separately, what with a hyphen, and what solid. A good unabridged dictionary should be used in all doubtful cases; the pocket dictionaries are mostly useless on these points. The Webster's International of 1910 uses a small, faint hyphen to denote syllables, and a large black hyphen to denote compounds. The Standard uses the German hyphen (=).
2. The general rule for compounding is simple enough. Do not use the hyphen unless a difference in meaning is required. A poor-farm is not necessarily a poor farm. A glass house is different from a glass-house, a green house from a green-house. And out in the country, says a humorist, people distinguish between a near neighbor and a near-neighbor. The pronunciation is a great help, though it will not always decide between a hyphened form and a solid form.
3. Avoid hyphens in such phrases as long looked for, never to be forgotten.
4. In such words as cooperation (cooperation, co-operation) the hyphen is clearer than the dieresis, or two dots over the second vowel. But offices differ, and neither mark is really necessary.
5. As was said in the section on figures and numerals, simple fractions need no hyphen. We write one half, two thirds. But turn them into adjectives (one-half interest, two-thirds length) and they must be hyphened.
The same rule applies to many other phrases. We speak of a four-story house, a ten-acre lot, a two-foot rule, a first-rate or second-rate piece of goods.
6. We hyphen half-barrel, half-dollar, half-dozen, half-pasty quarter-section.
§ 37. 1. We write twofold, fourscore, sixpence, but a hundred fold, twenty score.
2. Here is a group of typical solid words: anybody, anything, anywhere, cannot, everybody, everything, nobody, nowhere, something, somewhere, earthenware, facsimile, fireproof, landowner, newcomer, stockbroker, taxpayer, trademark.
3. The word forever is in good use, though some of the best dictionaries prefer for ever. Every one and any one are not yet consolidated, but it is hard to see why not. Surely there is a real difference between these words as referring to persons and to things. [Even in the case of persons the accent varies according to the meaning.]
§ 38. 1. The phrase all right is two words. Note that it has two Ils and a clean white space after them. The running of these words together with one 1 is an abomination.
2. The phrase Good morning is two words.
3. The phrase Good bye is properly two words. But as an adjective - Good-bye kiss - it may be hyphened.
4. The phrase near by is two words, and should stand after the word it modifies (a house near by).
5. The best literary usage gives us: to-day, to-night, to-morrow, together. But business usage tends toward making these words solid.
6. Compounds of semi- and demi- and anti- are not written with a hyphen unless they are made up on the spot. Such inventions are often semi-jokes.
§ 39. The following list of four hundred and forty business words is intended for study rather than merely for reference. It shows the principles which in general govern the separation, the hyphening, and the consolidation of words: accommodation bill.
down town (adv).
form letter, or form-letter.
furniture-store galley-proof gas-company gas engineer gaslight gas-oven gas-stove gate-bill gateman gate-money gear-wheel glass-house glove-maker gold-mine gold-mining good bye (or by) good evening good-for-nothing good morning grain-car graniteware greengrocer greenhouse, or green-house groceryman gunpowder half-binding half-cent half-dollar half pay hand-bag handkerchief hand-made handwriting hardware hard-wood (adj.) harness-maker hat-maker hat-store.
hook and eye.