Posts Tagged ‘happenings and mishappenings’

the hyphen story

March 10, 2009


elecmagDo you know how a hyphen is used, gramatically, that is? Sorry, let me re-phrase. Do you know what confusion, even heartbreak, can not knowing the proper usage of the innocuous-looking hyphen cause?  (look, I just used one correctly here, in the previous sentence ;))

I have a little incident to share on this. Here:

Remember there was this theory in electromagnetism that we studied during younger days that when a conductor carrying current is placed in a magnetic field, it experiences a force (bla bla….this force is a function of the strength of the magnetic field and the magnitude of the current (F = il* B ..that’s a vector equation…bla bla….I’m not getting any further into the physics of it)

In an exam (that was way back, in 9th standard), in answer to a question, I wrote “…..when a current carrying conductor is placed in a mag field….”. While the answer was correct, my physics teacher (a pale looking, surely very finicky and perhaps very intelligent, Mrs. Pitambar) underscored in red “….. when a current carrying conductor is placed ….” and on my asking what was wrong with it, said “How can current carry a conductor?? It should be “…when a conductor carrying current is placed…”

I lost a then-seemingly-crucial 1 mark, and (more…)