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  1. #11
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    Default Re: Punctuation question

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordic Bill
    "They have a washer-dryer" or "... a washer/dryer"?
    Have you tried on-line dictionaries? I came up with:

    washer and dryer
    washer & dryer
    washer 'n dryer
    washer ' dryer
    washer dryer

    stacked washer and dryer
    stacked washer dryer
    and so on.

    Plus copiuos examples housed with slashes (/) and hyphens (-).

    The original rule seems to be this: "and" is superfluous, so it's either reduced or omitted altogether. For example:

    [1] and is reduced to the symbol &.
    [2] and is reduced to 'n, and 'n is reduced to the symbol '.
    [3] and is omitted.

    "and" has gone through quite a history of reduction, and yet speakers are bringing it back (to life), for some reason, by replacing it with a hyphen (-) or a slash (/). Why? Seems like hyper-correction to me. Some speakers feel "washer dryer" requires punctuation so as to show that the words are structurally and/or semantically related. For example, a hyphen is generally used to show a semantic relationship, but the concepts "washer" and "dryer" are not related; they are separate concepts - even as a stacked unit. Find me a machine that does both, and I'll copyright the word "washer-dryer". So, the hyphen not only looks odd, it reads odd, too - at least to me.

    As for replacing "and" with a slash (/), that would be my initial pick, but not my final choice.
    The most common use is to replace the hyphen [with a slash] to make clear a strong joint between words or phrases, such as "the Ernest Hemingway/William Faulkner generation."
    Source: Wikipedia
    So, "washer/dryer" seems to fit the bill, but it presupposes there was, at one time, a hyphen in use; i.e., washer-dryer => washer/dryer. Agh. So much for the slash. That is, what does "/" mean? The slash is commonly used to represent the concept or; i.e., "the phrase and/or, a prose representation of the logical concept of inclusive or"; i.e., *a washer/dryer.

    Then there's the structure to contend with. How do we account for, structurally, two consecutive nouns that are not joined by a conjunction? Is that why speakers a.k.a writers are creating a new use for the hyphen and the dash? Seems as if they're adding them in to meet structural requirements. That's a good thing, but is it standard?

    In short, we've several choices.

    [1] Let "and" die a peaceful, respectful death:

    EX: washer dryer (my choice)

    [2] Use punctuation to satisfy structural constraints:

    EX: washer/dryer (the slash represents omitted "and")
    EX: washer-dryer (the hyphen represents omitted "and")

    [3] When in doubt, go through as many on-line dictionaries that you can find (both AmE and BrE) and look for the most common spelling.

    All the best.

  2. #12
    Nordic Bill is offline Member
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    Default Re: Punctuation question

    This is great, Casiopea. Thanks a lot. I am really grateful for these responses and explanations and it goes without saying that an English grammar folder should be added to my Word documents so I will have these tips on hand for easy future reference.

    Cheers,
    Bill

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Punctuation question

    You're welcome.

  4. #14
    SweetMommaSue's Avatar
    SweetMommaSue is offline Junior Member
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      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
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      • United States
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    Thumbs up Re: Punctuation question

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordic Bill
    SweetMommaSue, I have an additional question for you as you have commented on some terminology that I would like to have clarified, if possible:
    When referring to these stacked units you mentioned, do you refer to them as such in daily speech? Would you say "We have just purchased a stacked washer-dryer unit" or is that too drawn out? I'd really appreciate a tip there.
    Thanx,
    Bill
    Bill,
    I'm very sorry for the long absence.

    I would say, "We just purchased a washer and dryer set!" When asked what type then I would respond with, "It's a stacked unit." But the sentence you have mentioned is also correct. If stated that way, then a second answer wouldn't be necessary!

    Have a great day!
    Sweet Momma Sue

  5. #15
    Nordic Bill is offline Member
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    Default Re: Punctuation question

    Thanks for getting back to me, Sweet Momma Sue. Really appreaciate it.

    Bill

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