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Old 09-21-2007, 04:00 AM   #1
Richard Waller
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Default Demise of the hyphen

Hot from the press, the new Shorter Oxford English Dictionary highlights the decreasing use of the hyphen. 16000 words have lost their hyphens. Apparently it is too much trouble for users of txt and email, so out they go.

Fig leaf and pot belly are now separate words. Pidgeonhole and leapfrog are merged together.

A pity. And, always running counter-to-trends, I have recently been putting more of them in; and parallel to this I have been using more semi-colons.

   
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Old 09-21-2007, 06:32 AM   #2
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Hot from the press, the new Shorter Oxford English Dictionary highlights the decreasing use of the hyphen. 16000 words have lost their hyphens. Apparently it is too much trouble for users of txt and email, so out they go.
OTOH I can't see this becoming a publishing standard. At least, it's not one I will follow.

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Old 09-21-2007, 07:37 AM   #3
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Hot from the press, the new Shorter Oxford English Dictionary highlights the decreasing use of the hyphen. 16000 words have lost their hyphens. Apparently it is too much trouble for users of txt and email, so out they go.

Fig leaf and pot belly are now separate words. Pidgeonhole and leapfrog are merged together.
I thought the trend of turning hyphenated terms into a single word had been well established long ago.

Just dropping the hyphen is new to me, or at least I haven’t noticed much of that going on.

But I have never seen fig leaf with a hyphen anyway.

Also have only seen potbelly or pot belly — don’t remember any hyphen there. In our dictionaries, the noun form is shown as either two words or one, while potbellied is always a single word.

Perhaps these are variations in our usage.

I often see wrongly hyphenated terms (phrases which need the hyphen when used as a modifier but retain it as nouns), and if those were to disappear I would be quite happy.

   
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Old 09-21-2007, 10:40 AM   #4
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I thought the trend of turning hyphenated terms into a single word had been well established long ago.

Just dropping the hyphen is new to me, or at least I haven’t noticed much of that going on.

But I have never seen fig leaf with a hyphen anyway.
There would be one in "fig-leaf attitude" wouldn't there?

And so on...

   
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Old 09-21-2007, 02:30 PM   #5
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There would be one in "fig-leaf attitude" wouldn't there?

And so on...
Of course. Any time you combine two nouns to use as an adjective you should hyphenate them. Otherwise it can get confusing; someone might decide you are one of those people who are concerned about the poor fig’s leaf attitude, for example.

   
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Old 09-21-2007, 03:03 PM   #6
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When I was a teen I found some books published in the 1940s and earlier that hyphenated to-day. Still seems odd and quaint.

   
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:23 AM   #7
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Today or to-day would be fine. What I see sometimes is 'to day' which definitely counts as one of three typos after which I give up and surf elsewhere.

   
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Old 09-22-2007, 06:45 AM   #8
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When I was a teen I found some books published in the 1940s and earlier that hyphenated to-day. Still seems odd and quaint.
And no-one. I found that in one of the earliest Nero Wolf novels (pretty sure of that).

   
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Old 09-22-2007, 07:34 AM   #9
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KT:

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And no-one.
Are you making a claim for 'noone'? Some people can't stomach 'cooperative', but avoid 'coöperative', on the ground that you cannot write an 'ö' with a US or English typewriter.

   
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Old 09-22-2007, 07:57 AM   #10
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Are you making a claim for 'noone'?
No!!! Let us keep “no one” for as long as people read.

   
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