Grammar – How I Hate Thee – Let Me Count The Ways!

Hello fellow writers. Today I’m giving you another writing tip from the Daily Writing website. Stop by there and read some of their tips, very informative. You can sign up on their website to receive free writing tips via email. Today’s tips is about compound words and when you should and should not use them.

5 Compound-Word Corrections

Posted: 20 Feb 2013 06:51 PM PST

Writers sometimes confuse a two-word phrase for a closed compound noun consisting of those two words, or vice versa. Here are five cases in which a noun phrase or a verb phrase was mistaken for a compound word or the other way around.

1. “Eating McDonald’s food everyday for four weeks turned this filmmaker into a bloated, depressed wreck.”
Everyday is an adjective (“It’s not an everyday occurrence”). “Every day” is a phrase consisting of an adjective and a noun (“That’s not something you see every day”). In this sentence, the usage is adjective-plus-noun: “Eating McDonald’s food every day for four weeks turned this filmmaker into a bloated, depressed wreck.”

2. “Seen as both godsend and a major let down, it remains the city’s artistic center.”
“Let down,” consisting of a verb and an adverb, is employed in such sentences as “He was let down.” As a closed compound, it’s a noun: “That’s a real letdown.” In this sentence, it should be in noun form: “Seen as both godsend and a major letdown, it remains the city’s artistic center.”

3. “Resistance from the state legislature could doom the governor-elect’s promise to rollback the hike.”
A rollback is a thing (“The rollback proposal failed in committee”); to roll back is to perform an action (“The state will roll back the price hike”). This sentence refers to an action, not a thing, so the compound must be changed to a verb phrase: “Resistance from the state legislature could doom the governor-elect’s promise to roll back the hike.”

4. “California gave a record $100 million loan to bailout schools.”
As in the previous example, what is in context an action is styled as a noun. The sentence should read, “California gave a record $100 million loan to bail out schools.” Better yet, close the sentence with the preposition: “California gave a record $100 million loan to bail schools out.”

5. “International organizations continue their pull out as rebels attack a train.”
If the sentence read that the organizations continued to pull out, the two-word verb phrase would be correct. But pulling out is an action, so it’s a pullout: “International organizations continue their pullout as rebels attack a train.”

Hope this has helped someone,
xoxo Siren.

One response to “Grammar – How I Hate Thee – Let Me Count The Ways!

  1. Hello Siren! Please contact me at your earliest convenience. You won a copy of my next release For Better or Worse. I may be overlooking it, but I didn’t see any way to get in touch with you on your blog. You can reach me at delaneydiamond(@)ymail.com and I’ll send it to you.

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