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More Handy Hyphenation Rules

I’ve presented a number of posts on hyphenation, so if this is a subject that you get stuck on, check out previous posts by putting “hyphenation” in the search bar at the top of the page.

It’s good to know that in some cases the meaning of a word changes if you hyphenate it. Take a look at these pairs of words:

  • rebound: to spring back or recover; re-bound: to tie again (retie)
  • recollect: remember; re-collect: collect again (regather)
  • recover: heal, restore; re-cover: to cover something again
  • recreate: to engage in recreation; re-create: to create again

Notice that this is an issue with words that begin with the prefix re. Continue Reading…

Are You Between or Among?

What’s a little joke between friends? Assuming there are just two of you, between is correct. But if you’re talking about a broader circle of friends, you’ll want to use among.

Often people think between is used only when referring to two persons, objects, or groups. It’s true that when the choice is between two distinct options, between is the right choice.

  • Edith couldn’t decide between the red or the black dress.
  • Jeremy’s college choice was between Harvard and Yale.

But between is also correct when there are more than two options. CMOS explains it this way: Between is “perfectly appropriate for more than two objects if multiple one-to-one relationships are understood from the context.” Continue Reading…

Who Needs Any More Trouble with Anymore?

I don’t want to spend any more time on this than is necessary, but we should touch on any more and anymore. One word or two? That depends on what you want to communicate and if you’re using British or American English.

Standard American English recognizes two distinct meanings:

Any more (two words) is an adjective phrase meaning “any additional.”

  • I don’t want any more coffee.

Anymore is an adverb meaning “any longer” or “nowadays” or “still.” It can be used in a negative sense:

  • I don’t drink coffee anymore.

Or in a positive sense:

  • Do you carry coffee anymore in this store?

Another way of thinking of the distinction between the two, according to Bryan Garner (Modern American Usage), is to use anymore to indicate time and any more for quantity or degree. Both are at play in this example:

  • I don’t drink coffee anymore because I don’t need any more caffeine.

British English is more likely to identify anymore as an alternative spelling of any more without acknowledging a distinction in meaning.

One final note. When you follow with the word than, always use the two-word any more.

  • I don’t like paying $3.50 for a cup of coffee any more than you do.

Okay, I won’t bother you anymore or give you any more examples!