Parts of Speech: Prepositions as verb forms

June 12, 2003: Issue 61

SIM STYLE: Them’s the breaks
For all its bells and whistles, sometimes Quark just can’t break a word correctly at the end of a line. It may insert a hyphen in the wrong place, or it may wrap the entire word to the next line and create awkward spacing. But no worries: You just insert a hyphen and go about your editing. Problem solved, right?

Think again. Hyphenating a word manually can often create more trouble than it’s worth because the word retains that hyphen regardless of what happens elsewhere in the paragraph. That means if a subsequent change earlier in the paragraph causes lines to rewrap, you’re likely to end up with a hyphenated word in the middle of a line—a far more glaring error than you started out with.

Instead, use a discretionary hyphen, which will either keep a word from breaking or force it to break in the spot you specify. To keep a word from breaking at all, place the cursor before the word and type command-hyphen.

To force a word to break, place the cursor at the desired point and type command-hyphen. If subsequent changes earlier in the paragraph allow the word to fit on one line, the hyphen will automatically go away.

Note: Remember that it’s also SIM style to never hyphenate ragged-right copy. You can set up a style sheet in Quark to turn off hyphenation; if you’re not sure how, drop me a note.

For more information, see Computer Commands and Hyphens in the SIM Stylebook or Issue 28.

GRAMMAR: I recently saw “Draw In” capitalized in a headline.
Isn’t “in” a preposition, and therefore not capitalized? It’s true that according to SIM style, prepositions of four letters or fewer are not capitalized in headlines. But in this case, “in” is not a preposition; it’s part of the verb “draw in.” How do you know? It’s listed this way in Web 11. The word “in” can be a preposition, but it can also be a noun (“ins and outs”), adjective (“the in crowd”), or adverb (“draw in”). The same is true for many other prepositions, evidenced by verbs such as “hold on” and “hone in.” Many of these verbs will be listed in Web 11, so when in doubt, look it up.

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