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ETpro's avatar

How should I punctuate this list of modifiers? See Details.

Asked by ETpro (34605points) September 25th, 2013

Which is preferred in US English?
1     Personalized Hand Stamped Jewelry
2     Personalized, Hand Stamped Jewelry
3     Personalized, Hand-Stamped Jewelry
Or did I leave out the proper way?

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12 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Number 3 is correct, except you should lower case the s in stamped.

ETpro's avatar

Many thanks. I thought it was #3, but forgot about the lowercase.

Jeruba's avatar

Chicago says capitalize both parts of a hyphenated modifier when using title-style capitalization.

augustlan's avatar

If it’s not a title, only the first word should be capitalized. The AP style guide says that, even in a title, the second part of the hyphenated bit should only be capped if it is already capitalized in an official title (like a published book title). So that part is a matter of style, and it’s up to you.

ETpro's avatar

It’s part of a customer’s desired tagline for her Jewelry website. Taglines are capitalized like titles, so looks like I got it right. Thanks.

whitenoise's avatar

There is no fixed rule for writing hand stamped vs hand-stamped, is there?

So it is about legibility and cosmetics. I personaly don’t like the hyphen, if it doesn’t add anything.

Since you are using it in a tagline, you might want to emphasize the hand made element, though.

I’d suggest:

Personalized, Hand Stamped Jewelry

What is (hand) stamped jewelry anyway.

marinelife's avatar

@whitenoise Hand-Stamped is an adjective and should be hyphenated.

whitenoise's avatar

Interesting @marinelife. I am not aware of such a rule.

Isn’t the rule that a hyphen is used when confusion may arise? Like in:
“There was a man eating tiger in Thailand” vs “There was a man-eating tiger in Thailand.”
(Actually, I am pretty sure of that, see next post.)

All in all…. one could just use handstamped and get rid of both the space and the hyphen:

Personalized, Handstamped Jewelry

Analogue to handmade, handcrafted, handwoven, handheld, etc.

Also an entry in webster:

whitenoise's avatar


from wikipedia:
Compound modifiers are groups of two or more words that jointly modify the meaning of another word. When a compound modifier other than an adverb–adjective combination appears before a term, the compound modifier is often hyphenated to prevent misunderstanding, such as in American-football player or little-celebrated paintings. Without the hyphen, there is potential confusion about whether the writer means a “player of American football” or an “American player of football” and whether the writer means paintings that are ‘little celebrated’ or ‘celebrated paintings’ that are little. [...] However, if the compound is a familiar one, it is usually unhyphenated.

Bill1939's avatar

How about
4. Personalized Hand-Stamped Jewelry

ETpro's avatar

@Bill1939 I believe the comma in a list of modifiers is standard in the books of style.

Bill1939's avatar

@ETpro, I am sure your are correct.

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