Choice Style Guide: Spelling

SPELLING, DISTINCTIVE TREATMENT OF WORDS, AND COMPOUNDS (Chicago, ch. 7)

REFERENCE SOURCES

Consult Merriam Webster Unabridged (http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/) for correct, preferred spelling. Use the dictionary's main entry, not the variant, for words that have alternate spellings. The preferred spellings of some words commonly used in Choice include the following:

abridgment

acknowledgment

admissible

adviser

aesthetic

among

appendixes

archaeology

catalog(s)

catalog(ed)

cataloging

indispensable

judgment

knowledgeable



Some general guidelines:

* Use "-ward," not "-wards" for words such as backward, forward, toward.

* Prepositions ending in "-st" are considered variants. Use the standard form (e.g., among, not amongst).

* When "-ment" is added to create a noun from a verb, drop the final "e" from the verb form (e.g., abridge> abridgment, acknowledge > acknowledgment; judge > judgment).

NEW WORDS

The three main classes of new words are foreign words, words forming the vocabularies of new disciplines, and coinages.

New words—i.e., words not listed in Webster's Unabridged—will be allowed if they appear in other reputable dictionaries. If a word cannot be found in any of these, the reviewer using it should be consulted. According to the reviewer’s explanation, the editor may let the word stand, enclose the word in quotes, or use a substitute expression.

Terms that may have been coined by the reviewer or by the author of the book being reviewed should be put within quotation marks. If foreign words can be found in another reputable dictionary, they will be treated as if found in Webster’s Unabridged—i.e., set in roman, not italic.

Reviewers sometimes enclose in quotation marks words/terms that they may consider slang, foreign, perhaps too new to be valid, etc. Often, these words are in Merriam Webster's. Some common examples:

ancien régime

baby boom / baby boomer

fait accompli

Festschrift

Generation X / Xer

how-to (adj., as in "… is a how-to manual for …)

intifada

mestizo

must (adj., as in "This book is a must read.")

ukiyo-e

Plurals

Capitalize a generic term in the plural that refers to two or more proper nouns (e.g., the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans).

Possessives

Add an apostrophe + s for words and names that end in an unpronounced "s" (e.g., Descartes's, Camus's) and for proper classical names that end in an "eez" sound (e.g., Euripedes's, Ganges's).



COMPOUNDS AND HYPHENATION

Compounds containing a prefix or suffix are normally treated as one word.



antislavery

predawn

starlike (but ball-like)

tenfold

reestablish, reaffirm

nonessential



If the root is a proper name, a number, or a compound word, or if an incorrect homonym results, hyphenate.



un-American

pre-1945

re-cover (to cover again)

re-create (to create again)

Hitler-like

pre-Socratic

Afro-Asiatic



Some commonly used exceptions:

transatlantic

Neoplatonic

Two-word compounds (open compounds) are combinations expressing single concepts; they are usually nouns, but they may also be used as adjectives or verbs. Normally such two-word adjectives remain open. Hyphenate only if the combination could be ambiguous.



civil rights leader

real estate deal

high school teacher

health care reform

social studies curriculum

college freshman English

Hyphenated compounds can be nouns, adjectives, or verbs, but adjectives are the most common. Rules that follow apply to preceding adjectives; predicate adjectives are not normally hyphenated except as noted.

What to hyphenate

Combination of adjective or noun plus past participle.

bright-hued banner

water-soaked ground

star-crossed lovers



Combination of noun plus present participle.

decision-making body

earth-shaking event



Combination of a number plus a unit of measure used as an adjective.

1,500-mile race

four-minute egg

18-year-old son



Compounds beginning with quasi, cross, self, all, whether they are preceding or predicate adjectives.



quasi-judicial decision

self-righteous

all-encompassing

cross-cultural

self-reliance

exception: crosscurrent



Compounds beginning with well, ill, better, best, and the like unless they are used as predicate adjectives.



well-known writer

very well-known writer

she is well known

Two nouns of equal value used as a compound noun.



soldier-statesman

author-critic

nurse-practitioner

Relationships compounded with great and in-law



great-grandfather

sister-in-law

fathers-in-law (pl.)

Special phrases according to the dictionary or common sense.



Johnny-come-lately

go-between



If the compound is preceded by an adjective modifying the first word in the compound, omit the hyphen, or, if necessary for clarity, use two hyphens.

early-19th-century poet

What not to hyphenate

Adverbs ending in "-ly" that modify an adjective.



a sharply written account

this extensively documented report

a poorly organized index

refreshingly candid biography



Terms used with percent or a dollar sign, because they are not adjectives (e.g., 15 percent tip, $100 million deficit).

Names of chemicals used as adjectives unless chemists hyphenate them as nouns (e.g., carbon monoxide poisoning).

Foreign phrases for any reason unless they contain hyphens in direct quotation (e.g., the a priori ruling).

Common compounds



aftereffect

all-purpose

all-star (all forms)

artwork

avant-garde (all forms)

backcountry

bare bones (noun)

bare-bones (adj.)

battlefront

best seller

best-selling

bird-watcher

bird's-eye

birdsong

bittersweet

blacklist (n. and v.)

bookseller

break-in (noun)

break up (verb)

breakup (noun)

breast-feed

breast-feeding

breathtaking

businesslike

businessperson

buildup

bypass

by-product

car pool (noun)

carpool (verb)

caregiver

casebook

case law

caseload

casework

case study

catchall

catchphrase

catch-up

cease-fire

childbearing (adj. and n.)

chock-full

city-state

citywide

clear-cut (all uses)

clearheaded

coffee-table (adj.)

coffee table (noun)

cold-blooded

colony

Colonial (re: 13 British colonies in America)

color-blind

color blindness

commonplace (all forms)

commonsense (adj.)

common sense (noun)

copy editor (noun)

copyedit/ing (verb)

copywriter

cost-benefit (adj.)

cost-effective

cost-effectiveness

counterrevolution

country-and-western (adj.)

country and western (noun)

course work

cover-up (noun)

creditworthy

crisscross

crossroad

cross section

cross talk

crossover

crystal clear

cut off (verb)

cutoff (adj. and n.)

cutthroat

cutting edge (noun)

cutting-edge (adj.)

database

data set

dead-end (adj.)

decision-making (adj. and n.)

dead end (noun)

decision-making (adj. and n.)

deep-rooted

deep-seated

desktop (adj. and n.)

die-hard (adj.)

diehard (noun)

dockworker

double-talk

downslope

down-to-earth

drop out (verb)

dropout (noun)

easygoing

endnotes

evenhanded

eye-opener/ing

fact finder

fact-finding (adj. or noun)

fainthearted

fair-minded

far-flung

far-fetched

far-off

far-reaching

farsighted

fast-forward

feebleminded

fieldwork

field-worker

filmgoer

filmmaker

fine-tune (v.)

first-class (adj. and adv.)

firsthand

first-rate

floodplain

flow chart

folk song

folklife

folksinger

folktale

follow-up (adj. and n.)

follow up (verb)

fortepiano

framework

freeborn

freelance (open only for "mercenary soldier")

free-range

free-ranging

freewheeling

freestanding

front line (noun)

frontline (adj.)

full-blown

full-fledged

full-scale

fund-raiser

fund-raising (noun & adj.)

grassroots (adj.)

grass roots (noun)

groundbreaking

groundwater

grown-up (adj. & noun)

halfheartedly

handheld

handmade

hands-on

hard-boiled

hard-core

hardcover

hardheaded

hard-line (adj.)

hard-liner (noun)

hard-nosed

hard-pressed

hardworking

head-on (all forms)

heavy-handed

highbrow

high-handed

high-water mark

hit-and-run

home front

hotline

housecleaning

in-between (adj. or noun)

in between (adv. or prep.)

infighting

in-service

ivory-tower (adj.)

ivory tower (noun)

jump-start (verb)

jump start (noun)

kindhearted

laissez-faire

landform

landholder (all forms)

landowner

launchpad

left-hand (adj.)

left-wing (adj.)

left wing (noun)

left-winger (noun)

levelheaded

life-form

life-size

life span

lifelike

lifelong

lifestyle

lifetime

lifeway

lifework

lighthearted

lifelong

like-minded

long-range

long-standing

longtime

lowbrow

long-winded

lowbrow

lowercase

low-key

makeup

mapmaker

mass-market

master plan

masterpiece

masterwork

mean-spirited

mind reader

mind-set

moviegoer

moviemaker

mudslinger

mythmaker

name-calling

narrow-minded

nation-state

nationwide

newsworthy

nonetheless

no-nonsense

offbeat

offhand

officeholder

offstage

old-fashioned

one-sided

ongoing

onstage

onetime

open-ended

open-minded

otherworldly

overall (all uses)

page-turner

pathbreaking

peacekeeper

peacemaker

peacetime

photo-essay

placeholder

place-name

playgoer (ing)

playwriting

plotlines

policy maker

postcard

postmortem

pre-Socratics

prime time (noun)

prime-time (adj.)

printmaker

printmaking

prizewinner

proofread

proofreader

punch line

radioisotope

real-life

rearguard (adj.)

rear guard (noun)

Red-baiting

rip off (verb)

rip-off (noun)

role-play

roundtable

screenwriter

scriptwriter

second-best (adj.)

second best (noun)

sell out (verb)

sellout (noun)

set up (verb)

setup (noun)

shortcut

shortchanged

short-lived

shortfall

short run (noun)

short-run (adj.)

shortsighted

sidebar

sideshow

side step (noun)

sidestep (verb)

single-handed

single-minded

slaveholder

so-called

soft-pedal

solid-state

songbook

sourcebook

spatiotemporal

spin-off (noun)

spot-check

stagehand

standby

stand-alone

standout (noun)

stand-up (adj.)

start-up (all uses)

statewide

steelmaker

stepparent

stepping-stone

still life (pl., lifes)

stonecutter

story line

storyboard

storyteller

straightforward

strikebreaking

surefooted

sure-handed

tell-all

theatergoer

thoroughgoing

thoughtway

time-consuming

time frame

time line (historical events)

timeline (schedule, timetable)

timescale

timespan

topflight

top-notch

trade-off

trailblazer

transatlantic

tree line

turnoff (noun)

up-to-date

uppercase

user-friendly

wake-up (adj.)

warm-blooded

warm-up (noun)

warm up (verb)

wartime

watercolor

website

weekday

well-being

well-known

well-off

well-read

well-rounded

whistle-blower

white-collar (adj.)

wholehearted/ly

wide-ranging

witch hunt (noun)

witch-hunter/ing

woodwork

wordplay

workbook

workforce

workplace

workstation

world view

worldwide

wrap-up (noun)

write-up (noun)

wrongheaded

zigzag

database

e-mail

home page

hot link (n.)

hot-link (v.)

newsgroups

newslinks

online

toolbar

Webmaster

website

worldwide

up-to-date (adj.)

up to date (adv.)

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