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Re: Sub-

Posted by The Critic on January 01, 2002 at

In Reply to: Re: Sub- posted by R. Berg on December 31, 2001

: : : : : : : : : can someone explain me please what is it subconcept?

: : : : : : : : : I took it from the sentece: Although the four conservation principles initially appear simple, they contain subconcepts.....

: : : : : : : : If you take the view that the word should be 'sub-concepts' then all becomes clear. This is an example of the sloppy use of the English language leading to unnecessary, and unintended, confusion.

: : : : : : : : The subject title that you gave to your posting - 'word that I can't finf in the dictionary' - is also sloppy usage of the language - capitalizing 'i' and changing the spelling of 'finf' to 'find' adds considerable clarity to your question.

: : : : : : : I also notice that another word you use - 'sentece' - does not appear in the dictionary.

: : : : : : And a merry Christmas to you.

: : : : : Make that: Merry Christmas.

: : : : And further more, the word was "subconcept" at all the Web sites I visited.

: : : Make that "furthermore." Now, about "sub-": The general rule for hyphenation after a prefix is don't. "Sub" is a complete word when it's slang for submarine. It's not a word when it joins with "concept" to form a compound: it's a prefix. So "subconcept" is correct.

: : : Exceptions: Hyphenate to avoid a double vowel, as in "anti-intellectual" (but some exceptions to this exception are accepted, as "preeminent" and "cooperate"). Hyphenate if the second element is capitalized, as in "pre-Socratic."

: : Just a few examples from an online dictionary - can't all be wrong.
: :
: : 1. sub-zero
: : 2. sub-underwrite
: : 3. sub-standard
: : 4. sub-Saharan
: : 5. sub rosa
: : 6. sub-post office
: : 7. sub-postmistress
: : 8. sub-postmaster
: : 9. sub-plot
: : 10. sub-orbital
: : 11. sub-nuclear
: : 12. sub-machine gun
: : 13. Sub-Lt.
: : 14. sub-lessor
: : 15. sub-lessee
: : 16. sub-clause
: : 17. sub-breed
: : 18. Sub-Boreal
: : 19. sub-basement
: : 20. Sub-Atlantic

: Quite right--they aren't all wrong. For instance, "sub-Saharan" and "sub-Atlantic" are correct because "subSaharan" and "subAtlantic" would look terrible. In "sub rosa," the first element is a (Latin) word, not a prefix. However, the forms "subzero" and "subplot" are standard, unlike their hyphenated versions. Not everything that's on-line is authoritative.

Presumably you accept that the OED has some credibility in these matters; or perhaps you don't?