7.4 The Lower-Sign Rule [XIII.40]

The six WHOLE-WORD lower signs learned earlier in this lesson must always stand alone. However, any number of unspaced PART-WORD lower signs can follow one another as long as the series is in contact with a character containing an upper dot (dot 1 or dot 4). Thus, in the following example both the in and en contractions are used in the word linen because the lower signs are in contact with the letter l. Example:

Was it truly his, that suit of fine linen?

As always, care must be taken when dividing words. Often when words containing lower signs are divided, the lower sign contraction cannot be used because it is no longer in contact with an upper dot. Examples:

They en-
joy tennis.
"It's made of lin-en."

• Note: This rule also applies to other part-word and whole-word lower signs that will be studied later in this lesson and in Lesson 8.

When two or more lower-sign contractions would follow one another without being in contact with an upper dot, the final lower-sign contraction is not used. Example:

We'll need milk, sugar, flour and shortenin' for the cake.

Since dots 3-5 represent both the whole word in and the letters in as part of a word, it is extremely important to correctly determine how the letters are used. For example, in the word shut-in the whole word in has been joined to the whole word shut to form a hyphenated compound word. As a whole word brailled on one line, the in contraction cannot be used since it is in contact with the hyphen. However, in the word shut-ins the letters in are simply a part of the word ins, and the contraction is used. Examples:

shut-in shut-
shut-ins shut-

When used as part of a word, the contractions for en or in may be in contact with other letters or punctuation as long as the sequence is in touch with an upper dot. Examples:

It's all in vain—en-
courage her anyway.
I was self-in-

Drill 15

Try the Drill in WESBraille.