Okay, I feel odd writing this but I looked around and never found the answer so I'm hoping for some feedback.

I was doing a proof and a doctor answered low-averagish intellect before the accident. Wouldn't that be low-average-ish before the accident; or low average-ish before the accident? I was wondering why it was written as such, I know "ish" is a common term in pop culture lingo but I was a bit thrown off that a doctor used it in that manner. I marked it for the reporter to review and noted low, average-ish before the accident. Any feedback? Is there any reason the reporter would have written it as solid that I'm not aware of?

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Comment by Thomas Herman on September 17, 2009 at 9:06
Thank you both!
Comment by Veronica Kubat on September 17, 2009 at 8:02
I would use the hyphen. It's less likely to stop the reader's eye.

V.
Comment by Rosalie DeLeonardis on September 16, 2009 at 9:54
When I googled in "averageish," the word came up in different articles as "average-ish." Very hard choice to make.
Comment by Rosalie DeLeonardis on September 16, 2009 at 8:22
Morson's English Guide Rule 164 states: The suffixes ish and wise are sometimes added to words by tentative speakers. If adding a suffix to a one-syllable or two-syllable construction causes no difficulty, writing the word without a hypen is correct. Generally, use hypens to eliminate all chance of misreading or misunderstanding.

I actually don't like the way either one looks, but I would write it "averageish."
Comment by Thomas Herman on September 16, 2009 at 7:28
Thank you both!
Comment by Jennie Ann on September 16, 2009 at 3:36
I agree with Chris. Sometimes, as we all have encountered, verbatim transcription is a whole different ball game than camera-ready copy. ;-)

There is one rule of thumb that if the word ends in "e" or another vowel, that the vowel is omitted and then the "ish" is inserted.

I have also seen it done like this: "low average(ish)."

Personally, I'd do it like "low average-ish."

I have similar things come up with endings on acronyms that gave me pause, like if somebody got caught on the RIF (reduction in force), they were "RIF'd." You could do it like "RIF-ed" or "RIF'd." HTH! :-)
Comment by chris on September 15, 2009 at 22:30
My common sense would say 'low-average intellect before the accident,' thinking maybe he stumbled on the word average, saying the second syllable twice. But if you don't think that's the case, then I'd
probably go with 'low average-ish before the accident.' Let's see what the other peeps have to say on this!

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