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Betsy Ross Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:11 AM
Original message
Grammar help please
I am writing about "Single-Channel" and "Quad-Channel" video devices. Now they want to use "Quad SD Channel" as the descriptor. While my guess is that it should be "Quad-SD-Channel" device, it's hard enough to enforce the use of any hyphens so I'm afraid my company is going to object to two hyphens.

So I would appreciate the grammarians checking in and providing their input. Thanks.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. I think it is a tossup,
though I prefer the hyphens.
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:02 AM
Response to Original message
2. I really don't think that's a grammar issue
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 01:09 AM by woo me with science
as much as a terminology issue. If the terminology is theirs, they can choose whichever form they like.

An analogy might be when high fidelity stereos were popular. The manufacturers often referred to them as "Hi-Fi" systems even though they didn't always (or even usually) write "high fidelity" with a hyphen.


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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
21. What modifies what is very definitely a grammar issue. Usage is not absolute, ESPECIALLY in
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 12:10 PM by patrice
technical writing documentation for multi-profession/multi-ethnic use, since each professional field/ethnicity has its own habits of usage that confuse the other professional fields/ethnicities involved in whatever project.
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woo me with science Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #21
36. Oh, patrice.
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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:14 AM
Response to Original message
3. Agree with the posted comments. Go with the standard for the organization.
:hi:
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:23 AM
Response to Original message
4. Grammar Guru here:
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 01:24 AM by tblue37
The way we use hyphens for compound adjectives that precede nouns is not always actually required. I would prefer Quad-SD-Channel device as clearer (because immediately so, at a glance), but Quad SD Channel device is neither unclear nor incorrect.

The one thing I would worry about, though, is that they might foolishly decide to use one hyphen but not both, and that would be confusing. Using just one hyphen would be wrong, because (as I understand it) all three descriptors modify the noun as coordinate adjectives, and using one hyphen would relate a pair of adjectives to each other in a way that would privilege their connection rather than the relationship between each adjective and the noun being modified. Avoid:
Quad-SD Channel device
Quad SD-Channel device /
BTW, here is a link to my grammar site:http://www.grammartips.homestead.com/index.html
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Capitalocracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:52 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. Unless Quad SD is a thing...
then Quad SD-device would be correct... right?
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:14 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. Awesome site! Thanks for the link! :)
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #11
27. Than you for the compliment! nt
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:59 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. Thanks and here are two grammar questions for you.
When we "compare and contrast" two things, as we are often asked to do in high school, the results are a comparison and a ______. What?

Also, "collectors' item." I come across this term often in my work. Which is the correct placement of the apostrophe? "collector's item" or "collectors' item?"


Thank you for your reply. I'll check out your grammar site as well.
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Iggo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #16
25. Answers. (Or more properly: Guesses.)
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 12:58 PM by Iggo
1. I believe the results might be a comparison and a contrast (which I would pronounce CON-trast), but I could be wrong about that.

2. Collectors item (no apostrophe). It's an item FOR collectors, not BELONGING TO collectors. And I could be wrong about that, too.
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #16
28. A "contrast." The word "contrast" can do double duty--as either a verb or a noun. nt
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #16
30. That would depend on how you wanted the term to be understood.
It is a situation that allows for some flexibility, because the precise meaning of the phrase has never actually been fixed in stone.

In general, I would be quite happy without any apostrophe at all: "collectors items" or collector item. That would be using "collectors" or collector as an attributive noun (alternatively, a noun of attribution). Those are nouns that precede other nouns and act as adjectives: picnic table, school work, text book, etc.

If I wanted to use the apostrophe, though, and I wanted to describe one item, I would prefer "a collector's item," whereas if I wanted to describe several items, I would probably say, "several collectors' items." But omitting the apostrophe is perfectly fine--and has the added advantage of avoiding the problem altogether.
.
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begin_within Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 09:51 PM
Response to Reply #30
38. Thank you!
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #4
23. Depends upon whether the device protocols being referred to in SD are for input devices, in this
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 01:19 PM by patrice
case quad-input devices, or whether they are protocols (machine language) for channels.

I'm going to go with protocols for input devices, since channels are comprised of various types of devices of which input-devices are one sub-type. It is possible, however, that the whole channel is being identified as using certain types of protocols, Standard Definition (SD), for ALL of its sub-devices, in which case we could say that it is a dedicated SD-Channel. In broadband networks, that may be somewhat unlikely, so I associate the protocol with the lower level of organization, in this case, one sub-device(s) within the Channel, i.e. the Quad(-input((and, technically, all of its sub-devices)), so it's a Quad-SD(-input) Channel, or, if I had my way, SD-Quad(-input) Channel, since Quad-SD Channel seems to suggest that the whole channel is an SD Channel, which, I think, is unlikely (since, for intellectual property and security purposes, some device protocols are probably proprietary).
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #4
24. OTQ for guru:
Is it: "more important..." or "more importantly..."?

And should that question mark at the end of the question be before or after the quotation mark?

Thanks! :hi:
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:09 PM
Response to Reply #24
31. It is "more important." and the placement of the question mark is
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 08:10 PM by tblue37
determined by whether the material within the quotation marks is a question or not.
EXAMPLES
~The child whined, "Why can't I get a drink of water?"
~Have you read "Flowering Judas"?
~Did he really say, "They can kiss my stash"?
~Did he really say, "Are you my mother?"

Notice that last example: The material being quoted is a question, but so is the sentence that the quotation occurs in. In that case, the question mark inside the quotation marks does double duty, marking the interrogative intention of the direct quote and also of the sentence containing the direct quote.

The same rules apply to exclamation points, but for periods and commas, British usage differs from American usage:
Quotation Marks: Where Do the Commas and Periods Go--and Why?
http://grammartips.homestead.com/inside.html

_________________________________________________

more important
The reason why it is "more important" is that the phrase is actually an elliptical clause, not a modifying phrase:
<What is> more important, . . .

Frankly, I have always found the insistence on more important over more importantly to be rather pedantic, but nitpickers do treat it as something of a shibboleth. I feel the same about the squawking that goes on over the supposed crime of using hopefully as a sentence adverb. I happen to think both "hopefully" and "more importantly" would work just fine as sentence adverbs--but the nitpickers simply will not have it.
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Duer 157099 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #31
35. Thank you!
Finally, I can put those two issues to rest! :thumbsup: :hi:
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:28 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. I have a couple of articles about quotation marks over there.
This one deals with a few other situations that some people find confusing:
"Quotation Marks: A General Explanation of How They Are Used"
http://grammartips.homestead.com/Generalquotes.html
Oh, and the reason why the phrasing in my subject line is "a couple of articles" rather than "a couple different articles" is that "couple" is a noun, not an adjective modifying the noun "articles." Instead, "of articles" is a prepositional phrase that adjectivally modifies the noun "couple."
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juajen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:26 AM
Response to Original message
5. I agree. No hyphens required. NT
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:47 AM
Response to Original message
6. Go without the hyphens. :)
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Betsy Ross Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:52 AM
Response to Original message
7. Thanks for all the input.
Since I am such a hard-nose demanding hyphens in so many of our phrases, 3-wire, dual-channel, etc. I'm am going to go for two hyphens. It would be hard to justify none given the other examples. I am responsible for setting standards, just don't always get the opportunity to enforce them.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:52 AM
Response to Original message
9. I agree with the grammar guru, but point out that this is a punctuation issue, not a grammar issue.
Yes,that WAS totally obnoxious and unnecessary. I admit it.
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:15 PM
Response to Reply #9
32. True--punctuation is what is called "usage," as are spelling, capitalization, etc.
Edited on Sat Dec-10-11 08:16 PM by tblue37
In fact, my website is called Grammar and Usage for the Non-Expert, and the first article listed in my article index explains the distinction between grammar and usage:
"Why Does She Keep Saying Grammar and Usage?"
http://grammartips.homestead.com/grammarandusage.html
BTW, notice that hyphen in "Non-Expert." It is quite unnecessary, but not forbidden. That is often the case with hyphens, and in fact Americans use more hyphens than Brits do. The reason I hyphenated that word there (whereas I seldom would do so in other writing situations) is that I wanted to emphasize that a person who has little grammar or usage expertise can nevertheless understand my explanations. I felt that isolating "Non" with a hyphen added that extra bit of emphasis.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:11 AM
Response to Original message
10. One of my favorite resources, KentLaw.edu, agrees with you:
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Jim Lane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 05:54 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Are these technical terms adjectives?
I'm not familiar with devices of this type. "Channel" at least looks like a noun.

English, unlike many other languages, can use multiple noun phrases, and they aren't hyphenated. We don't hyphenate "radiation fallout survival shelter" (I think that was the phrase that confused the monk in A Canticle for Leibowitz, wasn't it?).

It's nice that we can discuss language issues here, even though DU is primarily a politics discussion board.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. It's been a long time since I read that book, but it's AWESOME to meet someone else who has. Time...
for a re-read!
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #17
33. I also adore that book. nt
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #13
18. Yes, they are adjectives because they modify the noun "channel". K, so there are different kinds of
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 12:14 PM by patrice
Quad inputs, is that right?

The question about the hyphen has to do with whether the SD is more directly related to "quad" or to "channel".

Channels have various traits and various combinations of traits.

There are different types of channels, of which this is a quad-input type of channel, right?

There are different types of channels, of which this is a standard definition (SD) type of channels. Would SD Channel be specific enough for everyone to know exactly what is being referred to? Or are there different types of SD Channels, of which this is a Quad-input SD Channel, which would make SD a modification (a quality) of Quad, so we could say Quad-SD Channel, or, more informally, Quad-SD-Channel (though I prefer the former for its more technically analytic format, but if I was a real bitch I'd want it to be SD-Quad, on the principle that there are various Standard Definitions of which this is the Quad-input subtype, or there are different types of protocols for Quad-inputs of which Standard Definition is one super-ordinate type of protocol.)

I generally prefer analysis-from-general-to-specific (many-to-one) to read from left-to-right, so without knowing the engineering details here, I'm guessing the highest/broadest super-ordinate category is (protocols) Standard Definitions, in this case SDs for one particular type of input/device known as a Quad input, for a Channel, making it an SD-Quad Channel, but if your users are already used to, and specs are already written for, Quad-SD Channel that's what I'd use.
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:53 AM
Response to Reply #13
20. Politics = Language, which is why politics can be deconstructed. nt
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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #20
26. . . . and, hence, more or less validly:reliably re-constructed. nt
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canetoad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 02:35 AM
Response to Original message
12. Typographically
When laying out the page, the hyphens should guarantee that the term is not broken over two lines of type. Don't know if this is a factor or not.
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Tuesday Afternoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 09:50 AM
Response to Reply #12
15. yes, that would guarantee that it is one-term as opposed to one term
Edited on Fri Dec-09-11 09:50 AM by Tuesday Afternoon
for example :D

on edit: spell check is my friend
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HopeHoops Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 07:34 AM
Response to Original message
14. One hyphen, first two words. - "Quad-SD Channel".
Same with things like "One-year old" as opposed to "year-old". That's standard usage now and probably to avoid run-on hyphenated terms that wrap around the screen. That ruling is from The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition. There's an 18th Edition out now, but I doubt it has changed that particular usage.

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patrice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #14
19. Agree.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-09-11 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #14
22. Also agree. I am a retired copy editor and sort of know
what is correct. n/t
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #22
34. It depends on meaning, though. I am a technology idiot, so I do not know
what those descriptors refer to.

If they are not all coordinate modifiers of the noun, but rather hierarchical modifiers, or if the relationship between two of them needs to be privileged, then a hyphen between those two would do that.

But if all of the descriptors modify the noun at the same level, then they can be left unhyphenated--or all hyphenated.
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many a good man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-10-11 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
29. I prefer QUAD_SD_CHNL
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