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Friday, March 27, 2009

Criminal Sentence 192: Necessary Hyphen

From something I'm editing:

"This is not the time to have a poor quality inspection."

Unlike yesterday's sentence, which had a less-than-ideal hyphen, this sentence would benefit from a hyphen between "poor" and "quality":

"a poor-quality inspection"

This hyphen makes the sentence smoother for the reader.


sara elisabeth said...

the added hyphen causes me to read it as an inspection of poor quality, rather than a quality inspection showing a poor score. is that just silly of me? are there other syntax options?

sara elisabeth said...

*i am now thinking i should have left out the comma in that last comment. commenting on this blog is a little intimidating.

The Sentence Sleuth said...

You're right, Sara Elisabeth. The sentence is talking about an inspection of poor quality (a poor-quality inspection). Without the hyphen, you could read it as a quality inspection that is poor. In this case the sentence is talking about a home inspection that is of poor quality.
Other syntax options include "an inspection of poor quality," but that is a bit wordy for my taste.