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This is another public-service announcement.<fn> I'm a bit of a fanatic about hyphens. Hyphens aren't really that difficult in English. <h>With Adverbs</h> I was recently asked whether an adjective following an adverb needs to be hyphenated. For example, does "This is a fully qualified sentence." need a hyphen? It does not. But almost everything else does. According to the article <a href="" source="Daily Writing Tips" author="Maeve Maddox">Adverbs and Hyphens</a>, the AP Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style agree: <bq>When a compound modifier–two or more words that express a single concept–precedes a noun, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound <b>except the adverb very and all adverbs that end in -ly.</b></bq> <h>Compound Adjectives</h> Furthermore, I tend to agree with the AP Style, which writes that <iq>[c]ompound adjectives beginning with “well” are hyphenated no matter where they are in the sentence.</iq> The Chicago Manual of Style thinks that <iq>[w]hen such compounds follow the noun they modify, hyphenation is usually unnecessary, even for adjectival compounds that are hyphenated in Webster’s</iq>, which I consider to be blasphemy. If it's defined in the dictionary, it seems quite arrogant for a style guide to leave hyphenation up to the author and/or editor. They helpfully note that it's <iq>usually unnecessary</iq>, meaning that the reader will often be able to figure out what's going on from context, so go ahead and <i>put the burden on the reader</i>. Oxford (American version) muddies the waters even more by opining that the hyphen is required when the adjective comes before the noun but not when it comes after. Madness. <h>Compound, compound adjectives</h> Additionally, if you have multiple hyphens, you can emphasize the secondary one (or ones) by using an n-dash rather than a hyphen. For example, the phrase "a red-jewel--encrusted dagger" needs two hyphens. The n-dash is between "jewel" and "encrusted". If you don't use hyphens at all, you leave the reader swimming in a sea of confusion. They will probably have to take multiple runs at your sentence in order to make sense of it. <ul> A red-jewel--encrusted dagger (definitely a dagger encrusted with red jewels) A red-jewel encrusted dagger (probably a dagger encrusted with red jewels) A red, jewel-encrusted dagger (a red dagger encrusted with jewels) A red jewel encrusted dagger (an unreadable pileup of words) </ul> <h>Non-hyphenated words<fn></h> Where things get a bit murkier is when you have two words that form a single word, but have done so <i>for a long time</i>. Eventually, the words agglutinate without a hyphen. For example, the world "hellbent" is written without a hyphen, but it's unclear why. There are also a lot of words starting with the syllable "re" (redistribution, recycling, etc.) that don't take a hyphen. When in doubt, look it up in a dictionary. I do it all the time. We have the knowledge of the world at our fingertips<fn> and our spelling and grammar is getting worse and worse. <h>Coda</h> Two more things: <ul> The past tense of "lead" is spelled "led", not "lead". It's either "whence" or "from where", It's never "from whence", which is redundant. </ul> <hr> <ft>Do you see what I did there? It's called foreshadowing.<fn></ft> <ft>There's another one. Other words, like "finger-dry" are hyphenated.</ft> <ft>More foreshadowing, which is also foreshadowing.</ft> <ft>That's actually foreshadowing for the final section.</ft>