Another Writing Quirk: Front Yard and Backyard
In our recent On the Horizon, the newsletter for our 55+ community, I asked for pictures of animals that wander through our woodsy backyards. Here are a few of our visitors…
Our backyard woodsy critters: deer, turkey, opossum, and more.
Backyard. Front yard. Compound words can be tricky, so if in doubt, look the word up in your dictionary. Here are a few compound words that popped up in the current issue of our newsletter:
Sometimes compound words can be written as two words (open compounds):
Sometimes compound words cam be hyphenated (hyphenated compounds: two-word adjectives)
on-duty police officers
battery-powered smoke detectors
extra-virgin olive oil
Sometimes they can be written as one word (closed compounds):
Don’t be surprised if you see a few words that can be written two ways or that two dictionaries do not agree on the spelling, hyphenation, or spacing. That’s just how these quirky compound words go.
database or data base
hard-wired or hardwired
line up or line-up
The current trend, according to the Chicago Manual of Style, is toward closed compounds. Compound words that start off as two words move to two words with a hyphen, then to one combined word (on line, on-line, online; e-mail, email).
Regardless of the current trend, check your dictionary if you are not sure of the spelling, hyphenation, or spacing of compound words.
Janice Hall Heck, retired educator, blogger, wannabe photographer, and
nitpicky editor of On the Horizon, a bi-monthly community newsletter for Horizons at Woods Landing, Mays Landing, NJ, is quite possibly a grammar geek.