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brandy-and-water Options
vkhu
Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2017 9:32:03 AM
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Joined: 6/18/2012
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Quote:
I got Montgomery some brandy-and-water. He sat staring in front of him at nothing, recovering his breath.

-The Island of Doctor Moreau


I'm not sure what to make of the hyphening here. I'm reading it as the narrator gave Montgomery a diluted glass of brandy, but why would he give someone in dire need of some strong stuff a diluted drink? If I interpret this as Montgomery was given both a glass of brandy and a glass of water, then I don't get what the hyphens are for.
palapaguy
Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2017 11:14:18 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/28/2013
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Location: Calabasas, California, United States
vkhu wrote:
Quote:
I got Montgomery some brandy-and-water. He sat staring in front of him at nothing, recovering his breath.

-The Island of Doctor Moreau


I'm not sure what to make of the hyphening here. I'm reading it as the narrator gave Montgomery a diluted glass of brandy, but why would he give someone in dire need of some strong stuff a diluted drink? If I interpret this as Montgomery was given both a glass of brandy and a glass of water, then I don't get what the hyphens are for.

The hyphens are a way of creating a compound noun. The brandy-and-water is one single item - diluted brandy.
RuthP
Posted: Sunday, October 22, 2017 3:14:29 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/2/2009
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Location: Drain, Oregon, United States
vkhu wrote:
Quote:
I got Montgomery some brandy-and-water. He sat staring in front of him at nothing, recovering his breath.

-The Island of Doctor Moreau


I'm not sure what to make of the hyphening here. I'm reading it as the narrator gave Montgomery a diluted glass of brandy, but why would he give someone in dire need of some strong stuff a diluted drink? If I interpret this as Montgomery was given both a glass of brandy and a glass of water, then I don't get what the hyphens are for.

The hyphens are, as palapaquy said, a way of creating a compound noun. This is not as commonly used today as it was in the early twentieth century and before. In fact, today it is relatively uncommon, though still correct.

H.G. Wells was writing at the end of the 19th century. It would also be very common to water, or dilute spirits. After all, you wish to calm, or perhaps brace, the person who is in shock, not knock them out. Whistle
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