Is there anyone who could tell me what’s the difference between
1. a) a fast, moving car and b) a fast moving car
2. a) the old village life ; b) the old, village life c) the oldvillage’s life
3. Which word could be used either as an adjective or a noun in thefollowing sentences:
a) She was a…………………, lovely lady (adjective)
b) She was a …………………, a lovely lady (noun)
Thanks,
HF
1 2
Is there anyone who could tell me what’s the difference between 1. a) a fast, moving car and b) a fast moving car

Strictly speaking, case b means the car is currently moving fast, but case a means that its maximum speed is high and the car is currently in motion, without saying whether it is now moving fast or slowly.
But usage trumps rules: i.e.careful speakers and writers aim at clarity and precision rather than conformity to any supposed rules; and usually rephrase or expand the dictum if they foresee any harmful confusion.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
Is there anyone who could tell me what’s the difference between 1. a) a fast, moving car and b) a fast moving car

Strictly speaking, case b means the car is currently moving fast, but case a means that its maximum speed is ... rather than conformity to any supposed rules; and usually rephrase or expand the dictum if they foresee any harmful confusion.

May I ask?:
Would it be valid in case b) to say:
a fast-moving car.
What I mean is, would it be valid to join the two adjectives with a hyphen so as to "attach" the word "fast" to "moving" thus indicating that it qualifies "moving" rather than "car"?

Paulo - still studying multiple adjectives
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Would it be valid in case b) to say: a fast-moving car. What I mean is, would it be valid ... a hyphen so as to "attach" the word "fast" to "moving" thus indicating that it qualifies "moving" rather than "car"?

Indeed, I believe that would be the only correct way to write it. (In other words, "fast moving" and "fast, moving" are both incorrect.)

-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
Would it be valid in case b) to say: a ... "moving" thus indicating that it qualifies "moving" rather than "car"?

Indeed, I believe that would be the only correct way to write it. (In other words, "fast moving" and "fast, moving" are both incorrect.)

A lot of modern style guides (this is being hashed out in another thread, isn't it) encourage leaving out hyphens when it doesn't create ambiguity to do so.
"A fast moving car" is fairly unambiguious.
"A fast-moving van" would need the hyphen, because (in AmE at any rate) a "moving van" means something other than a van that is moving.

Roland Hutchinson Will play viola da gamba for food.

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Is there anyone who could tell me what’s the difference between : 1. a) a fast, moving car and b) a fast moving car

Both are incorrect usage. Correct: a) a fast car; b) a fast-moving car.
2. a) the old village life ; b) the old, village life c) the old village’s life

2a means "the former life of villages"; 2b is wrong since "old" qualifies "village life"; 2c means "the life of the old village".

Adrian
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A lot of modern style guides (this is being hashed out in another thread, isn't it) encourage leaving out hyphens ... the hyphen, because (in AmE at any rate) a "moving van" means something other than a van that is moving.

As I understand it, the rule is that the hyphen should be left out if the first word is an adverb, since the adverb is modifying the following adjective, it cannot be qualifying the noun, and therefore there can be no ambiguity. (If the first word is an adverb having the same form as an adjective (eg. "fast"), it depends on whether interpretation as an adjective would make sense in the context.) Thus, "fast-moving" but "slowly moving". This rule is rarely adhered to; I think, for example, that people are more likely to write "ill-fitting" than "ill fitting", even though clothes can hardly be ill.
Adrian
As I understand it, the rule is that the hyphen should be left out if the first word is an ... for example, that people are more likely to write "ill-fitting" than "ill fitting", even though clothes can hardly be ill.

It's more complicated than that. (And I'd write "slowly-moving", or, more likely, "slow-moving", but not "slowly moving".) Note that these cases all deal with participles ("moving", "fitting") rather than ordinary adjectives - they're all verbs with "-ing" added to them. I think the purpose of the hyphen is to show that the adverb modifies not the participle as a whole but the verb itself. That is to say, "ill-fitting" isn't "ill" + "fitting"; it's "fit ill" + "-ing". Similarly, "fast-moving" is "move fast" + "-ing".
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
As I understand it, the rule is that the hyphen ... than "ill fitting", even though clothes can hardly be ill.

It's more complicated than that. (And I'd write "slowly-moving", or, more likely, "slow-moving", but not "slowly moving".) Note that these ... is to say, "ill-fitting" isn't "ill" + "fitting"; it's "fit ill" + "-ing". Similarly, "fast-moving" is "move fast" + "-ing".

Point taken. Thanks.
Adrian
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