July 18, 2002: Issue 30
SIM STYLE: It’s like, you know …
“Like” and other common combining forms, such as “multi,” “proof,” and “side” are joined to words WITHOUT a hyphen.
incorrect: suede-like fabric
correct: suedelike fabric, multilevel house, waterproof material, bedside table
Note: DO use a hyphen if the combined word would bring together three identical consonants.
incorrect: wallless living area
correct: wall-less living area
Note: DO use a hyphen if the combining form joins with a proper name.
incorrect: Eameslike chair
correct: Eames-like chair
Note: DO use a hyphen if the combining form creates a word with a different meaning.
incorrect: multiply plastic
correct: multi-ply plastic
GRAMMAR: What’s the difference between imply and infer?
If you are speaking and you mean to suggest or hint, you are implying something. If your listener picks up on your hint, he or she is inferring something. Speakers (and writers) imply; listeners (and readers) infer.