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Quick question for people's thoughts:

I want to write a sentence:

Enjoy an audiobook whether you're poolside or mountainside.

My question is...

Would you write this sentence as the above, or as:

Enjoy an audiobook whether you're pool or mountainside.

Would the "side" apply to BOTH pool and mountain when written as above? Or would you need to write both poolside or mountainside?

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  • by a pool or in the mountains: that way you needn't deal with it.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 22 at 17:50
  • 2
    This seems to be a promotional/advertising statement, and for that I believe that poolside/mountainside reads with a catchier rhythm. Commented Apr 22 at 21:20

3 Answers 3

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Both poolside and mountainside are nouns. Since they describe specific things, the first usage — poolside and mountainside — would be correct.

If there was some object near the pools or on the mountain, like a deck or a chair, then you would use your second formulation but only regarding the object: as in the poolside or mountainside chair.

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I would write:

Enjoy an audiobook, whether you're poolside or mountainside.

The reason is purely aesthetical. The orthographically correct way to omit the second element of a compound in a list is to replace it with a hyphen:

Enjoy an audiobook, whether you're pool- or mountainside.

I think this looks unattractive, when printed, especially if this is an advertising slogan that stands by itself.

Omitting the second part of a compound in a list is fine if you write a more technical document such as a scientific journal article, but in fiction or even in popular non-fiction I would avoid it because I find it unelegant and, when it is spoken, requires more mental effort from the listeners.

There are exceptions to this, of course, mostly when the first part is a number or the list of compounds is very common as a list. For example, using the examples from the linked Q&A, I would write:

three-, five-, and nine-inch snowfalls (numbers)

upper-, middle-, and lower-class (common list, therefore mentally easy to process)

but

I will be investigating control issues in ground-based, water-based, and air-based robots. (uncommon words, better comprehensibility)

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I feel the "whether you're" is a bit cumbersome and implied, albeit correct.

Enjoy an audiobook poolside or mountainside.   

The words poolside and mountainside feel pleasant next to one another. If this is intended to motivate an audience through marketing, the fewer words and ease of mental flow are paramount if your target audience is the TLDR generation.

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