New poll

Stop by and vote on your favorite stylebook. Stay tuned for results from the last poll about Web site (or should it be website?)


The end of the hyphen?

A New York Times article describes how the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary eliminated about 16,000 hyphens for its sixth edition.

The Times quotes the dictionary editor, Angus Stevenson, as saying: "People are not confident about using hyphens anymore. They're not really sure what they're used for."

Some of the examples are strange (ice cream). Others make sense (cell-phone).

It does seem that more compound words are skipping through the hyphenated stage quicker to become one word (see post), and I could imagine the frustration of trying to update a dictionary and keep it even somewhat up to date.

There will always be hyphen sticklers (I might fall into this category at times) and those who are more lenient with the little guys, but doing away with the mark entirely would be a calamity. (Like I said, I tend to like hyphens.)


When words become one

I have to admit that I have not subscribed to the Copy Editor newsletter for a few years now, but a post by Bill Walsh on his blog reminded me that I should start subscribing again.

The post, however, is not really about the newsletter -- just the name. I do agree that many words should still be two words, but many seem to be fast-tracked to the spaceless and hyphenless forms. (See the poll on the side rail about Web site.)

If I do resubscribe to the newsletter, I might send them a check made out to Copy Editing newsletter, just to make it clear where I stand.

Adding a poll to the site

I decided to try something new, so I am going to add a poll each week that will focus on style and language questions that do not have a clear-cut answer. (It will be underneath the "About Me" in the side rail.)

So, swing by to take the poll and see what how other readers vote.

And that's where words come from, kids

And The Onion hits the nail on the head again in pointing out how things seem to work in the world.