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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 33, August 13, 2006, Article 27

PUNCTUATION STYLE ADVICE SOUGHT

Yossi Dotan writes: "I have a question concerning style in writing
narratives for my book "Watercraft on World Coins." I shall appreciate
to get help from readers of The E-Sylum to know the proper style for
spacing in connection with numbers and for hyphenation. My e-mail
address is yosdotan@bezeqint.net. Thank you very much!

>From the style guide which I follow I digested the following rule:
"Hyphenate if in adjective compound with a numerical first: 48-inch
floorboard; 6-sided polygon; 19th-century history; 60-odd. Don't
hyphenate (1) if the noun is possessive: 35 hours' work, and (2) if
the numerical relates to a lower-case abbreviation: a 24mm coin, a
3m-high mast, 5km.)."

Application of this guidance results in sentences like these:

-- The 11-mile (17km)-long Vasco da Gama bridge was opened in 1998.
[ Hyphen between number and the unabbreviated word "mile"; no hyphen
and no space between number and the lower-case abbreviated "km";
hyphen between the length and the word "long."  ]

-- The reverse depicts a 14th-century Venetian galley. [ Hyphen in
adjective compound. ] In the 14th century Venice had become one of
the most powerful trading states in the world. [ No hyphen. ]

A friend was so kind to read the draft of my nearly finished book.
He suggested to add always spacing after the numbers and not to
hyphenate so often."

[Perhaps some of the professional journalists among our readership
could offer some advice on the topic.  I'm just a hack.  -Editor]

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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