Two questions

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Senior Member
Elections in northern Cyprus on Sunday will see the retirement of one of the world's longest-serving political leaders. Rauf Denktash, whose intransigence and refusal to compromise have been blamed for scuppering countless initiatives to solve the Cyprus problem, is finally standing down after more than half a century in politics.


We write he lives in North America.
We don't write he lives in north America.

Why don't we write Northern Cyprus? As you see it is nothern Cyprus.

The next question is on the words 'longest-serving' .

Why is the hyphenation? What is wrong with just 'long serving' ?
  • Robert Bennie

    Australia - Australian
    G'day oros

    Long means simply that. A thing is not short.

    Longest means that everything else is shorter. Longest is the ultimate. There is nothing longer than longest.

    Hope this helps



    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Hello, Oros.

    In North America, North is part of the name. North America is considered a compound noun.

    That's not the case with northern Cyprus or northern Ireland. In this case, northern is an adjective and just describes the part of the country being spoken of.

    The same rules would apply to similar cases such as:

    South America
    southern Spain
    West Germany
    the western United States, etc.

    As for hyphenation, although it is quickly disappearing in American English, it traditionally forms a compound adjective:

    long-serving (longest-serving)

    It is no longer considered necessary, but it does prevent confusion in some cases. I still use it for the reason.

    I hope that helps.


    Senior Member
    Thanks everbody for the replies.

    If the words 'longest-living' is a compound adjective. What is the noun here?

    I think the word 'leaders' is the noun and the word 'political ' is the adjective which modifies the noun 'leaders'..

    So the words 'longest-living' is not an adjective.


    Senior Member
    Thanks Eddie

    You are very clever at English grammar. It is a great advantage for us to have you around here. I am very pleased by your replies.


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Apart from the difference between British and American English, I believe that Northern Ireland has for some time been considered a separate geographical entity and northern, in this case, is part of the name. Maybe Cyprus should fall in the same category.


    Senior Member
    American English
    Elections in northern Cyprus on Sunday will see the retirement of one of the world's longest-serving political leaders.
    Elections (subject)
    In (preposition)
    Cyprus (object of the preposition in )
    northern (adjective modifying Cyprus)
    on (preposition)
    Sunday (object of the preposition on )
    will see (verb)
    retirement (direct object)
    the (article (adjective) modifying retirement)
    of one (adjective prepositional phrase)
    of the leaders (adjective prepositional phrase)
    world's (adjective modifying leaders)
    longest-serving (adverb modifying the adjective political)
    political (adjective modifying the word leaders )

    Some adverbs seem as adjectives but are actually modifiers of adjectives.
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