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Re: new draft release announcement

Peter Samuelson <peter@cadcamlab.org> writes:

> "much-improved".  Hard rule to explain... basically - if an adjective
> comes right before a noun, any adverb that comes with it is hyphenated.

Not quite.  The Chicago Manual of Style suggests that this is true
*only* for adverbs which don't end in -ly, when right before the noun.
So you say "well-regarded" and "long-suffering" (if right before the
noun), but "highly developed" is always open.

Your example of "immediately-following noun" is therefore not right,
but "much-improved XFree86 4.1" is right.

When a phrase is used as a single adjective, it is always hyphenated.
This is a totally different rule, but explains why "her off-the-cuff
reply" is the right way to put it.

When you say "Her reply was off the cuff", you are no longer using
"off-the-cuff" as a single adjective, but as a complete phrase (which
would be the usual meaning).  Note that "Her reply was off-the-cuff"
*also* makes sense, and has a slightly different feel to it.

For complete-phrase adjectives which *cannot* be phrases of their own,
you still always hyphenate, and it's easier to see because the open
form isn't even grammatical.  So, for example:

"Her devil-may-care attitude..."
"Her attitude was devil-may-care."

The Chicago Manual gives the example "Everything is up-to-date".


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