Monday, September 24, 2007

Breaking News: Thousands of hyphens perish as English marches on

By Simon Rabinovitch

LONDON (Reuters) - About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.

And if you've got a problem, don't be such a crybaby (formerly cry-baby).

The hyphen has been squeezed as informal ways of communicating, honed in text messages and emails, spread on Web sites and seep into newspapers and books.

"People are not confident about using hyphens anymore, they're not really sure what they are for," said Angus Stevenson, editor of the Shorter OED, the sixth edition of which was published this week.

Read the rest of the story here.

2 comments:

Valerie Loveland said...

I had no idea that some of those were supposed to be hyphenated.

Molly said...

I like the hyphen! And the double dash... though I didn't know those were supposed to be hyphenated either.

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