Fishing for Answers: “elfman” or “elf man”

Sometimes a writer has questions to ask, and the best people to answer those questions are you! Fishing for Answers is where I will ask a question and then we debate about the answer in the comments below! We’re looking for your advice and thoughts. Questions are about everything from writing, story creating, to publishing and author life. Let’s begin!

My question for you today is:

If an elf is a male elf, would you call him “elfman” or “elf man” in your book?

The same question for “slaveboy” vs “slave boy,” / “fairyman” vs “fairy man,” / “nobleson” vs “noble son.”

As a reader or writer, which do you prefer? Which do you see used more often in published books? I would like to hear your thoughts and opinions.


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12 thoughts on “Fishing for Answers: “elfman” or “elf man”

  1. Elf man. Elfman looks too much like “spaceman” or “policeman.” In my opinion, since elves are typically presented as a race, then it would be more like “Caucasian man or Asian man.” Of course, there are precedents for the other too (Englishman, Irishman, Frenchman, etc) so I suppose you could use both. But personally, I prefer to separate. You could always use Elvish man instead. That is my 2 cents for tonight 😉
    Cheers!
    R

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your 2 cents, Rebekah 😉 That’s exactly what we’re looking for! Yes, this is the same dilemma I’m having. Elfman kind of looks funny, but then we have words like “merman” which is similar… Elvish man does work though.
      How about “slaveboy”? Would you separate it into 2 words or keep it as 1?

      Like

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever seen ‘slaveboy’ I’ve only seen it as slave boy or slave girl. I prefer the terms separated for elf man, unless clearly shown that in your story world people use the term as elfman, which is a possibility. In such a case consistency is a key. If you’re consistent with either separate or together, then it should be fine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure if it’s grammatically correct, but instinctively I’d want to put a hyphen between the two words, elf-man, slave-boy, etc. But given a choice between just the two options above, I’m not sure, to be honest. I probably wouldn’t write elfman/elf man, I’d just write elf.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Hyphens are a good option, I agree. Just using “elf” and then describing him as a “he” so we know he’s male is another good option you pointed out.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d also make “elf man” two separate words. It doesn’t look quite right as one word. And thinking back to what I’ve been doing in TKC, I’ve been writing similar terms as two words (Faerie man, Faerie woman, Mountain Man, Mountain Boy).

    Also, like Kima said, the key is consistency. Whichever way you choose, make sure you stick with it for the entire piece. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does have a fun ring to it. 🙂 I guess most people aren’t familiar with it as its own word, but it could work. Thanks for commenting your thoughts, Allison. 😀

      Like

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