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    #1

    Hyphens used in numerical ranges

    Would you support (without recasting) my hyphenated examples below exactly as written and punctuated for the compound modifiers before the nouns?

    a $4-million-to-$5-million-a-year savings
    • a $75,000-to-$80,000-a-year increase in spending
    • a 65-to-75-cent-a-week deduction
    • a 30-to-40-percent-a-year reduction across the board


    And, if we use the % symbol, does this look okay?
    a 30-to-40%-a-year reduction across the board

    This is not homework; it is sheer inquisitiveness.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by swansong; 19-Jun-2014 at 04:40.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Hyphens used in numerical ranges

    No. It's all wrong. Why do you have a hyphen between '4' and 'million' etc?
    If a hyphen is used to mean 'to', you don't write "- to - ", which equates to "30 to to to 40" etc. Use either "30 to 40" or "30 - 40".
    There's a dozen or so too many hyphens in your post.

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    #3

    Re: Hyphens used in numerical ranges

    Hyphens do not mean "to"; an en dash means "to." Hyphens are used in compound modifiers; en dashes are not.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Hyphens used in numerical ranges

    Quote Originally Posted by swansong View Post
    Hyphens do not mean "to"; an en dash means "to." Hyphens are used in compound modifiers; en dashes are not.
    That's true. Many people use hyphens for dashes (though usually leaving a space - as here - , and I was assuming that's what you were doing.
    I would write: "a $4 - $5million a year savings." So, I still think there are far to many hyphens. But styles vary, and "a $4 to $5m-a-year savings" would be right in some house styles.
    Last edited by Raymott; 19-Jun-2014 at 09:46.

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    #5

    Re: Hyphens used in numerical ranges

    Let me get to a computer so I'm not trying to write this on my phone.
    Your problem is in trying to use the number as a modifier (which takes a hyphen) and a range (which takes the en-dash) at the same time.

    Unfortunately with a very long compound modifier, you end up with an unreasonable number of hyphens. You will have to recast or choose between "incorrect" and natural. I put incorrect in quotes because it's style, not grammar.

    You will want to learn about suspended hyphens in the meantime.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Hyphens used in numerical ranges

    Hi Barb, I hadn't heard the term "suspended hyphens", but I've them often.
    On this page, the author seems to be contradicting herself by using a dash as the first 'hyphen'. Is that common practice?
    http://editingandwritingservices.com/suspended-hyphens/

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    #7

    Re: Hyphens used in numerical ranges

    Thank you, everybody.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Hyphens used in numerical ranges

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    Hi Barb, I hadn't heard the term "suspended hyphens", but I've them often.
    On this page, the author seems to be contradicting herself by using a dash as the first 'hyphen'. Is that common practice?
    http://editingandwritingservices.com/suspended-hyphens/

    I would attribute that to a typesetting error and the programs that automatically convert the hyphen on the keyboard to en- or em-dashes (did you see what I did there? ) which is extremely unfortunate on a page about the use of punctuation!
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 19-Jun-2014 at 23:10. Reason: typo
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Hyphens used in numerical ranges

    Quote Originally Posted by swansong View Post
    Would you support (without recasting) my hyphenated examples below exactly as written and punctuated for the compound modifiers before the nouns?

    a $4-million-to-$5-million-a-year savings
    • a $75,000-to-$80,000-a-year increase in spending

    • a 65-to-75-cent-a-week deduction
    • a 30-to-40-percent-a-year reduction across the board


    And, if we use the % symbol, does this look okay?
    a 30-to-40%-a-year reduction across the board

    This is not homework; it is sheer inquisitiveness.

    Thank you.
    I cannot support not recasting.
    You need to NOT use these as modifying phrases if you don't want make a mess.

    This comment on the first sentence would be applicable to all, since they all use the same format:
    Use the suspenended hyphen: A $4- to $5-million-per-year.
    Recast 1: $4–5 million in savings. [note that's an en-dash = Alt+0151 on your keyboard]
    Recast 2: A savings of $4—5 million annually.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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