Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hyphens: Saying No to Aging or Makeup?

Janet sent in this photo and says:
I think the name of this product needs a hyphen. What do you think?
Way to know your grammar rules, Janet! Not only is there a hyphen missing, but the omission changes the intended meaning.

Where does Revlon go wrong? It fails to hyphenate a compound adjective.
  • An age defying makeup is a life stage that opposes makeup. Pre-teens just say 'no' to makeup! No makeup for us, say 10-year-olds!
  • Age-defying makeup is makeup that defies age.

Quick rules:
  • Use a hyphen between two words that work together to describe a noun, when the compound adjective comes directly before the noun. He thought the brown-eyed girl was pretty.
  • Don't use a hyphen when the two words come after the noun. He loved a girl who was brown eyed.
  • Don't use a hyphen when the first word in a compound modifier is an adverb that ends in '-ly.' The market sold locally grown corn.

Try this: To know whether two words form a compound adjective, try imagining the word 'and' between them. If the sentence makes sense, it is not a compound adjective and you probably need a comma instead of a hyphen. J.K. Rowlings is a popular (and) successful writer. J.K. Rowlings is a popular, successful writer.

Correction: Revlon Age-Defying Makeup 

Epilogue: Oh, joy! Estée Lauder cosmetics claim to defy age, too. Grace sent in this photo of an ad that correctly hyphenates 'age-defying.'

1 comment:

  1. Those are the better rules described with effective guides and will surely help students to bring all those possible details.