Editorial Help Desk

Your Resource for Grammar and
MCPS Style

Word of the Month

Preempt (verb) To take something before others can get to it.
To take the place of or have precedence over something.
To gain a commanding place over something.
      The President's speech preempted regular programming.

Tip of the Month

 

Hyphenation: A Quick Review

Here are simple guidelines for hyphenation.

Question: Should I hyphenate a compound noun: a father-in-law, the passer-by, a two-by-four a compound verb: to double-click, to test-market, to sight-read
Answer: Consult the dictionary. Ideally, use Merriam-Webster's 11thEdition.

Question: Should I hyphenate a compound adjective?
Answer: Yes. The hyphen is used to connect the words and numbers to the noun next to them.
Note: An adjective created for an occasion is always hyphenated: A writer-director role, a peach-raspberry flavor, a blue-green chair.

Question: Should I hyphenate the prefix or suffix to a word?
Answer: In most cases you do not. Example: antidote for the virus.
Note: Hyphenate if the word includes a proper noun. Example: post-Thanksgiving activity.

Question: If I do not hyphenate compound words, will the reader misunderstand my sentence?
Answer: Hyphenate compound words only if the reader may misunderstand them.
Example: after-school snacks (not after school-snacks); small-business seminar (not small business-seminar)

If a flicker of doubt floats in your mind, always consult your dictionary.

 

When in doubt, contact the Editorial Help Desk for help (Donna_M_Marks Pleasant@mcpsmd.org) or call 240-740-2971.

Get the new MCPS Acronyms  

Learn to decipher the alphabet soup! Look it up in MCPS Acronyms

Do you know the difference between an ELT and an EMT, between FLS and FLES? Keep this reference on hand and you'll never get lost in jargon.

MCPS Acronyms (PDF)


Get the new Interactive Correspondence Manual  

Get the interactive
Correspondence Manual 2019

Learn to prepare memoranda, letters, and other documents in a consistent format. See the updated examples of memoranda and letters. Refresh your knowledge of email etiquette and more.

Montgomery County Public Schools Interactive Correspondence Manual


Editorial Stylebook

You've got to have style! Get the interactive Editorial Stylebook

Present your message in a clear, consistent, and professional manner. Learn some basic style rules to save time and improve your documents.

Montgomery County Public Schools Interactive Editorial Stylebook