Suspended Compounds

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Suspended Compounds :

With a series of nearly identical compounds, we sometimes delay the final term of the final term until the last instance, allowing the hyphen to act as a kind of place holder, as in

  • The third- and fourth-grade teachers met with the parents.

  • Both full- and part-time employees will get raises this year.

  • We don't see many 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children around here.

  • Be careful not to overuse this feature of the hyphen; readers have to wait until that final instance to know what you're talking about, and that can be annoying.

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