Contemporary essays, fiction, and opinion offered regularly by author Anne Brandt.

Question for the week
Is there anything wrong with the following phrase? "It cost less to reuse boxes than to buy new ones."
Rules of the Games
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Carol, who thinks she knows everything except this, asks...
is it 1 to 20 ratio or 1-to-20 ratio? how about client to staff ratio or client-to-staff ration
Anne answers...
Here is the rule I would apply to these two questions. You use a hyphen between words that form a compound adjective for the noun they modify. In both cases, the noun is "ratio," so I would use 1-to-20 ratio and client-to-staff ratio. Additionally, the visual aid of the hyphen helps the reader get the sense of the sentence more quickly.
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