August 26, 2008 5:39 AM   Subscribe

Punctuation filter: How would I hyphenate "... climate change related disclosures", or "... climate change specific patterns"?

As "climate" and "change" are modifying what's coming after it, I'm assuming it should all be hypenated -- "climate-change-related disclosures" -- but I know there are rules about participles and other variables and Gregg's Reference Manual is swimming before my tired eyes at this point.
posted by stenoboy to Writing & Language (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Rewrite the sentence: "patterns related to climate change" or "disclosures related to climate change".
posted by cgc373 at 5:42 AM on August 26, 2008

I wish I could rewrite them, but I'm proof-reading someone else's work!
posted by stenoboy at 5:44 AM on August 26, 2008

Then you want an en-dash, stenoboy: "climate change–related."
posted by cgc373 at 5:45 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thank you, cgc373. (I will tactfully suggest your rewrite!)
posted by stenoboy at 5:47 AM on August 26, 2008

I think the op's original idea was the best, not cgc's where "climate" is hanging off somewhere in the ozone.
posted by JimN2TAW at 6:17 AM on August 26, 2008

You actually have a number of options here. I, like Bill Walsh, would go for the two-hyphen solution.
posted by col_pogo at 6:19 AM on August 26, 2008

Section 7.88 (Multiple hyphens) of the Chicago Manual of Style says either hyphenation choice would be fine. That said, I thought Gregg's said to hyphenate the whole thing (two hyphens), but I don't know where I put my manual. Hmm.
posted by Ky at 6:21 AM on August 26, 2008

I think the op's original idea was the best, not cgc's where "climate" is hanging off somewhere in the ozone.

No, cgc is right. To quote Chicago (6.85): "The en dash is used in place of a hyphen in a compound adjective when one of its elements is an open compound"; example: "the post–World War II years."
posted by languagehat at 6:22 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ky: 7.88 is not the relevant section. I personally think "climate-change-related disclosures" would be fine unless someone involved is a stickler for such details, but this is not comparable to the examples in 7.88.

col_pogo: That is a newspaperman's rant you linked to and irrelevant here. (And off-putting in general: "Sorry, but I don't do en dashes." Sorry, you lose.)
posted by languagehat at 6:28 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

The newspaper man's rant may not be irrelevant if an en dash doesn't reproduce well in the print medium under discussion.
posted by galaksit at 6:42 AM on August 26, 2008

Chicago aside, is there a style guide or notable example from a target or model publication? I've witnessed hours and pages of discussion on how to use these various terms as different parts of speech, and the conventions always come down to the style of the most prestigious journal.

though I agree with cgc373's second comment above and eschew multiple hyphens in this forum
posted by zachxman at 6:45 AM on August 26, 2008

That'll teach me to get involved with grammar shortly after waking up.

I think as long as you're completely consistent... with all previous and subsequent documents in this situation, it'll be okay. Lots of people and places maintain their own style guides.
posted by Ky at 7:00 AM on August 26, 2008

I once enjoyed being a stickler for the appropriate dashes, but with print vs web conventions and browser compatibility and the demise in copyediting...I must admit I've essentially given up on dashes in compound phrases.
posted by desuetude at 7:24 AM on August 26, 2008

Since the goal here is clarity, I'd go with "climate-change-related disclosures," which seems the clearest to my eye. All the modifiers are together in one tasty chunk. Rules schmules. We break them all the time where I work.
posted by Camofrog at 8:04 AM on August 26, 2008

Out of curiosity, are there browsers that don't render the — and – entities properly?
posted by iconjack at 9:20 AM on August 26, 2008

I would not hyphenate either of these. The hyphens decrease clarity for me.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:37 AM on August 26, 2008

Since you render an entity to a glyph, you must always hope that the font has suitable glyphs. It may not, especially for some fixed-width fonts.
posted by galaksit at 9:38 AM on August 26, 2008

There's really no reason to ever use a fixed width font in today's internet environment, with the possible exception of aiming for an anachronistic feel for a particularly page. Unless you're operating under the conceit that your web page is a reproduction of a type-written page, using fixed width fonts is going to make your audience wonder if your webpage was built in 1998.

But other than that your points stands; with the most standard web fonts, there aren't any browsers that have a problem with dash entities, but some of the less common fonts might be lacking said entities in some browsers.
posted by Caduceus at 10:18 AM on August 26, 2008

Is Chicago always the default style where you folks do business? As per zachxman, I don't see why quoting it chapter and verse settles the question.

I realize I'm likely to "lose" if I pick fights with the in-house language mavens, but my point--and I think Walsh's, too, even if he is just a newspaperman (if a fairly senior one)--is that there are several ways of doing it, depending on house style. I don't think one is obviously or definitively better than another in terms of clarity and in the absence of a definite style to follow it becomes a matter of taste.

On the other hand, I must admit have a grudge against Chicago ever since I had an argument with the son of one of their senior editors. He insisted that ending a sentence with a preposition was always wrong, because his mom said so and she wrote the CMS...

And in regard to the original question, the rewrite cgc suggested is best, on second thoughts.
posted by col_pogo at 11:01 AM on August 26, 2008

I have seen it (and I like it best) as climate-change–related, which is climate[hyphen]change[en-dash]related.
posted by booksandlibretti at 10:20 PM on August 26, 2008

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