【英語論文の書き方】第54回 high-accuracy data? それとも High accurate data? 複合形容詞でのハイフンの使用

2018年3月16日 10時15分

(1) By 2020 or up to 2020? Expressions related to years.
(2) Other expressions denoting periods of time or durations
(3) Techniques to avoid using a numeral at the beginning of a sentence
(1) Using hyphens in compound adjectives
複合形容詞のハイフンについて、high-accuracy data、High accurate dataを例に挙げ、
(2) Spaces between sentences and in mathematical expressions
(3) Checking the “Instructions to authors” of the relevant journal before you start preparing your paper


In this review, first we explore the use of hyphens in compound adjectives, while taking care not to use them in expressions containing adverbs. We then look at the correct use of spaces between sentences and in mathematical expressions, and conclude with some remarks about following the “Instructions to authors” published on the Internet by most journals.

(1) Using hyphens in compound adjectives

A “compound adjective” is simply an adjective consisting of two or more words. Many compound adjectives consist of an adjective plus a noun, which together modify another noun. An example is the expression high-resolution image, where high-resolution (consisting of the adjective high plus the noun resolution) is a compound adjective modifying the noun image.
Note the use of the hyphen in high-resolution. Although it is true that the use of hyphens in English is decreasing as time goes on, it is still always a good policy in scientific writing to insert a hyphen in compound adjectives, especially those beginning with words such as high, medium, low, etc., to ensure maximum clarity and avoid any possibility of ambiguity.
Keep in mind, however, that hyphens are not generally used in compound expressions that contain an adverb (a word that modifies a verb or an adjective). Many adverbs are formed by adding ly to the adjectival form of a word; for example, the adjective high becomes the adverb highly. If a noun is modified by two words, and the first word is an adverb, then those two words do not, in fact, form a compound adjective. Let’s look at two examples:
(a) Example of a compound adjective: high-accuracy data
Here, high is an adjective that is joined together with the noun accuracy
to form the compound adjective high-accuracy, which, in turn, modifies the noun data. Since high-accuracy is a compound adjective, we use a hyphen. Notice that “accuracy data” doesn’t make sense; it is only when accuracy is preceded by high- that we have a proper expression, high-accuracy data. This is a characteristic of compound adjectives.
(b) Example of an adverb + adjective expression: highly accurate data
Here, highly is an adverb that modifies the adjective accurate. An adverb + adjective used in this way do not form a compound adjective, and no hyphen is used. This is because each word stands by itself. If we delete highly, the remaining expression, accurate data, is still perfectly OK.
All of this gives rise to another question: Which expression is better, (a) high-accuracy data or (b) highly accurate data? Both expressions are fine, actually. Perhaps (a) would be more commonly used in an abbreviated context such as a table or a list of features, whereas (b) would be more commonly used in a normal sentence situation. However, both expressions are, in fact, interchangeable.
There is one additional point about the use of hyphens in compound adjectives that I should mention. We do not usually insert a hyphen between a numeral and a unit of measure when the unit of measure is abbreviated. Therefore, we would write 2.5-kilometer grid, in which 2.5-kilometer functions as a normal compound adjective with a hyphen, but 2.5 km grid, without a hyphen, when the unit of measure (km) is in the abbreviated form. Needless to say, since units of measure are generally written in the abbreviated form, hyphens are rarely used in such expressions.

(2) Spaces between sentences and in mathematical expressions

Sometimes I find that an author has inserted two spaces after the period (.) at the end of each sentence. It used to be the rule to insert two spaces between sentences (dating back to the old days of typewriters), but nowadays, with automatic proportional spacing in most word processing programs, only one space is inserted after a period, as well as after a colon (:).
Continuing on with the theme of spaces, as a general rule there should be a space before and after all mathematical operators such as + (the addition sign), - (the subtraction sign), * (or x) (the multiplication sign), / (the division sign), < (less than), > (greater than), = (the equals sign), and so on.
A space is also inserted between a numeral and an abbreviated unit of measure, such as 2.5 km discussed in item (1) above. However, the question as to whether to insert a space between a numeral and the degree symbol is controversial, with some scientific bodies advocating a space (e.g., 10 °C) and others advocating no space (e.g., 10°C). My own personal preference is to not insert a space here, as this seems to be the most commonly used style. However, I recommend that you follow the style that is normally used in the journal to which your paper is to be submitted.

(3) Checking the “Instructions to authors” of the relevant journal before you start preparing your paper

Before you start to prepare a paper, as the very first step, be sure to access the website of the journal to which it will be submitted, find the journal’s “Instructions to authors” (sometimes entitled “Guidelines for authors” or something similar to that), and print out a copy for yourself and each of your coauthors, if any. Then make sure that you and your coauthors carefully follow each and every one of these instructions or guidelines. If not, the paper is likely to be evaluated quite harshly by the editor of the journal and/or the peer reviewers, and might even be rejected.
I hope that these hints are helpful to you in your work. Until next time. . . .
Sincerely yours,
Bob Gavey
For World Translation Services, Inc.





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第19回 前置詞 of の使い方: Part 2

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