Compound Words in
Business Letters



Compound Words in Business Letters :




Compound Words in Business Letters :


As a rule, words used in their regular grammatical relation and construction should be written separately, but when they are used together to express a specific meaning, they should be joined with a hyphen or written solid.


Take, for example, iron-fence, iron-saw and iron-wood. An iron fence is a fence made of iron which is clearly expressed when written as two words. Iron-saw, a saw made to cut iron, if not connected with the hyphen, would convey the wrong idea — that it is a saw made of iron. Ironwood, a kind of hard wood, clearly conveys the meaning when written solid. In general, it may be said that no expression in the language should ever be changed from two or more words into one — either hyphenated or solid — without a change of sense.


Many compound words, once written with the hyphen, through long usage, have come to be written as one word. While there is a lack of uniformity in the manner of writing compound words, the following rules reflect the general usage.


1. Vice and ex used as parts of titles are connected with the other part of the title by a hyphen.


Ex-President Roosevelt
Vice-President Marshall


2. When a noun and a participle are used as an adjective modifier, they should be connected by a hyphen.


money-making plans
order-producing ideas
labor-saving machines
good-looking lines


3. The prefixes co and re should be followed by the hyphen when compounded with words beginning with o or e.


co-operate
co-ordinate
re-elect
re-enforce
re-enter


4. The prefixes self and all are followed by the hyphen.


all-important
all-seeing
self-confidence
self-control


5. Compound numerals should be written with the hyphen.


ninety-seven
seventy-eight
thirty-five
twenty-one


6. When fractions are expressed in words, a hyphen should connect the two parts.


one-half
seven-eighths
three-fourths
two-thirds


7. When a numeral is compounded with another word to form an adjective modifier, the parts should be connected with the hyphen.


30-day note
56-inch tread
forty-foot lot
four-legged animal
six-story building
two-foot rule


8. When above, ill, well and so are used with a participle to form an adjective modifier, they are joined to the participle by a hyphen.


above-mentioned
ill-bred
so-called
well-informed


Note — When these words are used merely to modify a participle in the predicate, the hyphen is not required as, "He is well informed.''


9. The words half and quarter when prefixed to other words are generally followed by the hyphen.


half-dollar
half-hearted
half-witted
quarter-pound


10. First-class, second-class, first-rate, second-rate, etc., when used as adjectives, require the hyphen.


11. Certain combinations of words are sometimes used as adjectives and when so used, they should be hyphenated.


end-of-the-year rush
I-told-you-so expression
made-to-order garments
out-of-the-way place
ready-made suits
well-to-do man


Note — Today, tomorrow and tonight may be written either with the hyphen or solid. In business correspondence the tendency is to omit the hyphen.


The following words are written with the hyphen.


above-mentioned
bird's-eye
brand-new
high-class
by-laws
by-product
card-index
car-load
cross-examine
cross-question
every-day
first-class
good-will
hard-hearted
high-grade
ill-bred
ill-natured
labor-saving
left-hand
make-up
old-fashioned
out-of-door
post-office
right-hand
rock-bottom
short-lived
so-called
stepping-stone
well-informed
well-known
whole-hearted
whole-souled
wide-awake


12. Compounds with the prefixes over, under, after, non, fore, semi, sub, counter and out are written solid.


afternoon
afterthought
counterbalance
countercharge
foresight
foretell
nonpayment
nonresident
outside
outstanding
overcharge
overdue
semiannually
semimonthly
subagent
subcommittee
undercharge
underestimate


13. Compounds ending with house, room, shop, hook, ship, side, maker, mill, work, holder, keeper, man and woman are generally written solid.


bedroom
bookkeeper
framework
inside
millwork
needlewoman
outside
policyholder
salesman
salesmanship
saleswoman
sawmill
schoolhouse
shoemaker
stockholder
textbook
timekeeper
warehouse
windmill
workingman
workman
workmanship
workroom
workshop


Each of the following expressions should be written as one word.


almost
already
although
altogether
always
anybody
anyhow
anything
anyway
anywhere
apiece (each)
awhile
background
bimonthly
biweekly
blue print
blueprint
bookkeeper
bookkeeping
businesslike
can not
cannot
courthouse
due bill
elsewhere
everybody
everything
everywhere
facsimile
forever
forthcoming
forthwith
fortnight
furthermore
headquarters
henceforth
hereafter
hereby
herein
hereinafter
hereinbefore
heretofore
hereunto
herewith
inasmuch
insomuch
intact
itself
letterhead
maybe
meantime
meanwhile
moreover
nevertheless
newspaper
northeast
northeastern
northwest
northwestern
notwithstanding
nowadays
nowhere
one's self
oneself
otherwise
policyholder
postmaster
postpaid
postscript
railroad
railway
safeguard
salesman
salesroom
secondhand
semiannual
shortcomings
shorthand
shortsighted
somebody
somehow
something
sometime
sometimes
somewhat
somewhere
southeast
southeastern
southwest
southwestern
standpoint
stockholder
straightforward
subagent
subcommittee
subdivision
sublet
taxpayer
textbook
thereafter
thereat
thereby
therefor
therefore
therein
thereinafter
thereinbefore
thereof
thereon
thereunder
thereupon
threefold
throughout
timekeeper
timesaver
together
twofold
upbuilding
uphold
upkeep
vouchsafed
warehouse
wastebasket
wastepaper
waybill
whatever
whereabouts
whereas
whereby
wherein
whereof
whereupon
wherever
wherewithal
whichever
wholesale
widespread
withal
withdraw
withhold
within
without
withstand
workmanship


The following expressions should be written as separate words.


a while
all right
any one
any other
ball bearing
car load
en route
every one
may be
no one
parcel post
pay roll
per cent
post office
postal card
price list
real estate
some one
some time
vice versa

Compound Words in Business Letters

Compound Words in Business Letters :






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