Age terms and hyphens
Question: How do you use hyphens with ages, for example, two year old child?
Answer: Compound adjectives (two or more words that both modify the following noun) are hyphenated in age terms.
a two-year-old child
two-year-old (compound adjective)
However, if the age term is not modifying a noun, you don’t need hyphens.
The child is two years old.
Series + singular or plural verb
Question: Why is series singular in the following phrase: this series explores?
Answer: Series can be singular or plural depending on the context.
This series explores underground caves.
The next two series look at garden sheds.
Species can also take a singular or plural verb.
This species is extinct.
Those species are common.
Capitalising dog breeds
Question: Why are some dog breeds capitalised and others aren’t?
Answer: Any breed named after a place or person (proper noun) requires capitalisation.
Capitalised dog breeds include:
- Afghan hound (from Afghanistan)
- Airedale terrier (from the valley of the River Aire, England)
- Great Dane (from Denmark)
- Jack Russell terrier (named after an English dog breeder)
- Samoyed (named after the Samoyedic people of Siberia)
- Scottish terrier (from Scotland)
- Rottweiler (from a town in Germany)
Capitalise the proper noun, but use lowercase for the generic word, e.g. Scottish terrier, unless the word is capitalised in the dictionary, e.g. Great Dane.
Some dog breeds that take lower case are:
- basset hound
- bull terrier
- cocker spaniel
- golden retriever
The same rule applies in the medical field. For example, the proper nouns in the following terms are capitalised.
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Noonan syndrome
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
Other medical conditions, such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, are not capitalised.
Improve your grammar and punctuation with my online Grammar, Punctuation and Usage course.
Subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter to receive writing and grammar tips.