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Hi,

Here a sentence has been broken into 4 parts.We need to identify which parts are incorrect grammatically or usage wise.

1. So once an economy is actually in recession,
2. the authorities can, in principle, move the economy
3. out of slump - assuming hypothetically
4. that they know how to - by a temporary stimuli.

I feel the first and the second part is correct.In the third and the fourth part,I feel there is an incorrect usage of the hyphen.
I just went through a discussion on this site regarding hyphen usage.Dave had put up an article from the Economist Style guide
regarding the usage of hyphen.But in that,I did not see hyphens being used as pauses in a sentence(thisis done by a comma or a semicolon).Please correct me if I am wrong.Also tell me if there is someting else wrong in any part of the sentence.
Comments  
MaverickK3. out of its (or the) slump - assuming hypothetically
4. that they know how to - by a temporary stimuli.stimulus ( stimuli is plural)
Thanks for your reply Alphecca.But can you tell me what is wrong with the usage "out of slump" ? And is there nothinh wrong with the usage of hypen?
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Any help for why the usage "out of slump" is wrong in the sentence?please help.
I am in more confusion now.I will give the full question here.We have to identify the parts of sentence which are correct from the given options -

1. So once an economy is actually in recession,
2. the authorities can, in principle, move the economy
3. out of slump - assuming hypothetically
4. that they know how to - by a temporary stimuli.
5. In the longer term, however, such policies have no affect on the overall behaviour of the economy.

(A) 1, 2 & 5 (B) 2, 3 & 5 (C) 3 & 4 (D) 5 only (E) 2 only

Part 5 is definetly wrong(policies have no affect). This means option A,B and D are ruled out.This means either part 3 and 4 are correct OR only part 2 is correct.Please help.
Hi,

I am in more confusion now.I will give the full question here.We have to identify the parts of sentence which are correct from the given options -
1. So once an economy is actually in recession, Not OK. A comma should follow 'so'.
2. the authorities can, in principle, move the economy OK , although I'd say 'it' rather than repeat the word 'economy'.
3. out of slump - assuming hypothetically Not OK. 'Out of slump' is not idiomatic. It sounds odd.
4. that they know how to - by a temporary stimuli. Not OK. 'Stimuli' is plural, as already pointed out
5. In the longer term, however, such policies have no affect on the overall behaviour of the economy. Not OK. (effect)

(A) 1, 2 & 5 (B) 2, 3 & 5 (C) 3 & 4 (D) 5 only (E) 2 only

Part 5 is definetly wrong (policies have no affect). This means option A,B and D are ruled out.This means either part 3 and 4 are correct OR only part 2 is correct.Please help.

As regards the hyphens, different people favour different ways of using hyphens and dashes. But even without considering that, there are lots of errors as noted above.

I'd choose E.

This is quite a tricky test question.

Best wishes, Clive
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I'd agree with everything Clive says. The answer is E. Regarding your obssession over the hyphenation, it is fine to add information between two hyphens, but this is usually unnecessary.

E.g. I went to the cinema - despite wanting to stay at home - with my friends.

The hyphens could just as easily be replaced by commas, or brackets.

Clive's also right, saying 'the economy' in sentence 2, whilst not grammatically incorrect, is pretty awful writing.
Dear Anonymous,
I'm sorry to report, but you are incorrect here. Hyphens are not the correct punctuation to use to set off words in the middle of a sentence. Only an em dash should be used in this case, with no space in between.

In the way you used it, the term "usage-wise" should be hyphenated.

The sentence in question should read as follows:

In principle, once and economy is in recession, the authorities can move it out of a slump by providing temporary stimuli; assuming they know how.


Professional advice ...

  1. First, remove all the redundant and unneeded words (i.e. hypothetically, actually, so, ...).
  2. Never start a sentence with "so" or "but" unless you are writing a novel where you imitate human conversation.
  3. Know your audience. Why would they want to spend precious time reading your writing.
  4. Never underestimate the power of preciseness. Get to the point with the greatest economy of words. Everything else becomes clutter and obstacles to your audience.
  5. Never underestimate the power of rearranging your sentence structure.
  6. Never use a hyphen just for the sake of doing so.
  7. Avoid using a hyphen or em-dash as a grammatical separator - especially if you are in question. If you cant decide if it is appropriate then don't do it. However, if it seems apropos, aim for making it the closing phrase instead of mid-sentence.
  8. Minimize the use of flowery adjectives and adverbs. If they don't add to the meaning don't use them. Be considerate of your audience!!! They do not live to suffer through your verbose prattling.
  9. If it looks like you are becoming the 'comma queen', you need revisions. Come to the point. Use parenthetic phrases sparingly and place them artfully.
  10. A good author does not try to impress the reader with their ability to use a lot of words. Don't assume people want to work that hard to hear your point of view.

Good luck!

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