A guide comparing Associated Press style and Chicago style for editors, writers, teachers, students, word nerds, and anyone else who gives a dollar sign, ampersand, exclamation point, and pound sign about style.

Compounds Ending with a Preposition or Adverb: Open, Hyphenated, or Solid?


It seems like I'm always rifling through my reference books to check whether a compound is open, hyphenated, or solid in a particular style. "Movie goer," "movie-goer," or "moviegoer"? There is no consistency, no logic apparent to the naked mind . . . or is there?

No. No, there isn't. Not much. Sorry for getting your hopes up. Where a compound term falls in its journey toward becoming one word is arbitrary with a capital F-U.

In this post, I will discuss compound terms ending with a preposition or adverb (e.g., -in/-out, -up/-down, -on/-off, -over) and, of course, which version The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style prefer. If you love lists, I'm sharing one which was compiled in a so-far-successful bid to avoid organ herniation from hoisting those heavy books. In short, I will run down my run-down rundown. (Note to self: Raise standard for items on my "Things to Say" bucket list.)

Looking for Patterns

First, I analyzed this list of compound nouns and compound adjectives (aka phrasal adjectives and compound modifiers) for logical patterns. For example, if the first element ends in a vowel and the second element begins with a vowel, are they always joined by a hyphen to keep the vowels separate and the compound readable? Then, I had a gluten-free cookie and watched some TV. Really, there is no logic. "Drive-in" and "trade-off" . . . but "lineup" and "takeover." See?

Chalk it up to popular whim. According to CMOS (7.79), "With frequent use, open or hyphenated compounds tend to become closed ('on line' to 'on-line' to 'online'). Chicago's general adherence to Webster's does not preclude occasional exceptions when the closed spellings have become widely preferred by writers (e.g., 'website') and pronunciation and readability are not at stake."

According to the AP stylebook ("hyphen" entry), "Use of the hyphen is far from standardized. It is optional in most cases, a matter of taste, judgment and style sense."
And then they both go on and on about how to wield a hyphen. Let me break it down for you . . .

Reference Preference

Look words up in the following order. (Online dictionaries are listed at the end of the post.)


AP:
  1. AP Stylebook Online 
  2. The Associated Press Stylebook ("dictionaries" entry)
  3. Webster's New World College Dictionary: Use the first spelling if more than one spelling is listed in the same entry. Use the spelling in the entry with a full definition if there is more than one entry. (See "dictionaries" entry.)
  4. Webster's Third New International Dictionary ("dictionaries" entry)
  5. Use hyphens to avoid confusion or to join words to form a single idea. Avoid duplicated vowels and tripled consonants. (See "hyphen" entry.)
     Special Notes:
  • Precede -in with a hyphen (see "-in" entry). Exception: login.
  • Hyphenate compounds ending in -down, -off, -out, -over, and -up if not found in the AP stylebook or Webster's New World College Dictionary. Exception: charge off.
     Really Special Note:
  • These exceptions are not acknowledged by AP, but you do the math.

Chicago:
  1. The Chicago Manual of Style (7.77–85)
  2. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: Use the first spelling listed, even for equal variants (7.1).
  3. Webster's Third New International Dictionary (7.1)
  4. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Random House Webster's College Dictionary, or other standard dictionary (7.1)
  5. If an example or analogy cannot be found in the above, hyphenate sparingly and only to enhance readability (7.85).
     Special Notes:
  • The Chicago Manual of Style is not set up like The Associated Press Stylebook, meaning that it does not contain, as AP puts it in its table of contents, "an A to Z listing of guides to capitalization, abbreviation, spelling, numerals and usage." But you knew that.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style Online's "Forum" and "Chicago Style Q&A" may use spellings which differ from those on my chart, but their authority does not override the sources prescribed in CMOS.

Extra Credit: Stress Patterns in Pronunciation

Often, you can identify a compound noun (ending with a preposition or adverb) from its non-compound form (usually verb but not always) by the way the first element is stressed. You can hear the equal stress on the words "make up" in "Let's kiss and make up." Compare this to the heavier stress on "make" when you say "Let's kiss and share makeup."

More examples of stress on the first part of a compound noun (also examples of a stressful weekend): "meltdown," "blackout," "hangover." Exception: "time-out" (equal stress on both elements).

Examples of equal stress on both elements of a phrasal adjective: "far-off," "washed-up," "worn-out." Exception: "wake-up" (stress on first element).

I try to stick to style and avoid talking straight-up grammar because there are so many blogs out there for that—plus I might make stuff up, like "Nounify the verbular gerundity"—but, yes, use two words when any of these play the part of a phrase consisting of a verb, noun, adjective, or participle plus a preposition or adverb. Crap, I just lost 95 percent of my readers.
  • I had a meltdown when I watched the ice cream melt down my arm.
  • I black out when there is a blackout.
  • I felt a black cloud hang over me while I had a hangover.
  • I took some time out for a timeout. 

Using This Compounds List

  • Deviations by the AP stylebook from its official dictionary, Webster's New World College Dictionary, have been noted in the "Notes and Exceptions" column.
  • The words in the "AP Style" column can be found in the AP stylebook under those word entries in the "Stylebook" section unless indicated otherwise in the "Notes and Exceptions" column.
  • Most of the compound terms are nouns and adjectives; exceptions have been indicated.
  • It's interesting to note that both Chicago and AP use Webster's Third New International Dictionary as a secondary source, after their dictionaries of choiceIt retails for $129, but it's $75 on Amazon. Knock yourself out.

AP Style
Chicago Style
Notes and Exceptions
backup
blackout
blastoff
breakdown
break-in
breakup
brownout
buildup
buyout
• AP book: see "leveraged buyout"
call-up
carry-on
carry-over
carryover
cave-in
changeover
change-up
changeup
charge off
charge-off
• Note: two words
• AP dictionary: no entry
check-in
• AP dictionary: no entry
checkout
checkup
cleanup
close-up
cop-out
countdown
cover-up
• AP dictionary: coverup
crackup
crack-up
crossover
cutoff
drive-in
dropout
fade-out
fallout
far-off (adj.)
flameout
flare-up
follow-up
frame-up
grown-up
hands-off (adj.)
hangover
hang-up
head-on (adj., adv.)
hideout
• AP online: hideout
• AP book:
hide-out
(see "
-out")
• AP dictionary:
hide-out
holdover
holdup
layoff
letup
liftoff
lineup
login
log-in
• Note: Closed compound contradicts AP's hyphenated compound style for all "-in" constructions (see "-in").
• AP dictionary: no entry
logoff
• AP dictionary: no entry
• Chicago dictionary: no entry
logon
log-on
• AP dictionary: no entry
makeup
mashup
• AP book: see entry in "Social Media Guidelines" section
• AP dictionary: no entry

• Chicago dictionary: no entry
meltdown
• AP book: see "nuclear terminology"
mix-up
mock-up
mop-up
pat-down
• AP dictionary: no entry
• Chicago dictionary: no entry
pickup
pileup
playoff
play-off
pullout
pullup
pull-up
• Note: new entry (2/2012)
• AP dictionary:
pull-up
pushup
push-up
• AP dictionary: push-up
putout
rip-off
rollover
roundup
rundown
rundown (n.),
run-down (adj.)
• AP dictionary: rundown (n.), run-down (adj.)
sellout
send-off
setup
shake-up
shape-up
shoutout
shout-out
• Note: only listed on AP Stylebook Online
• AP dictionary: no entry

showoff
show-off
shutdown
shut-in
shut-off
shutoff
shutout
sign-up
• AP dictionary: no entry
sit-down
sit-in
situp
sit-up
• Note: new entry (2/2012)
• AP dictionary:
sit-up
slowdown
smashup
speedup
spinoff
spin-off
stand-in
standoff
standout
startup
start-up
• AP dictionary: start-up
stopover
takeoff
takeout
takeout (n.),
take-out (adj.)
takeover
takeup
take-up
thumbs-down
• AP dictionary: no entry
thumbs-up
• AP dictionary: no entry
tie-in
tie-up
timeout
time-out
• Note: AP says that this is an exception to the dictionary, but they match.
tipoff
tip-off
• AP dictionary: tipoff for basketball term meaning "jump ball"; otherwise, tip-off
trade-in
trade-off
tryout
tuneup
tune-up
wake-up (adj.)
walk-in
walkout
walkover
walk-up
washed-up (adj.)
washout
windup
workout
worn-out (adj.)
write-down
write-in

Thanks for making it to the end! If you can find a way to turn this into a drinking game, then give me a heads-up




Online Dictionaries




5 comments:

  1. Great post. So glad to see you back!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww, shucks. Thanks, Kathy! Let me know if there is a style comparison you'd like to read about.

      Delete
  2. I'm so glad I found your blog! I have a job interview coming up for a copy editor position that follows Chicago style, and I've only ever used AP style. Any sources you recommend for getting acclimated to Chicago, other than the manual itself of course? Thanks

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  3. Thanks, Nancy! As for getting acclimated to Chicago style, or any style, I tell people to apply Pareto’s Principle (aka the 80–20 rule), where 80 percent of the style you use comes from 20 percent of the guide. If you know which 20 percent to focus on, then learning a new style is not so daunting. Erin Brenner did such a wonderful job of breaking down this 20 percent on Copyediting.com, "Learning a New Style": http://www.copyediting.com/copyediting-tip-week-learning-new-style. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am a freelance writer, and I always use "The Chicago Manual of Style" as my reference when writing, also English I learned in the old school.

    AP style is fine is you are journalist, but I seen journalists make errors. Just look at newspapers, magazines, online any day and you will find errors.

    Whatever happened to proofreading before printing or posting?

    ReplyDelete