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What's with all the hyphens anymore?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by drexler, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. drexler

    drexler New Member

    It seems like every story I read anymore has one or more instances of words or phrases being overhyphenated.

    Contracts are signed for "three-and-a-half years" and the athletic director is retiring after "two-and-a-half decades." There are apparently "major-league baseball players" on the Yankees and "no-one" has stepped up at quarterback in fall camp.

    It's very strange. These constructs have only popped up in the past several months. It's one thing for writers to make these mistakes, and we know there's no such thing as a copy editor anymore, but someone should be catching these things, right?

    Are there any other recent "writing fads," right or wrong, that we're noticing with increasing frequency?
     
  2. Regan MacNeil

    Regan MacNeil Well-Known Member

    We've already lost the battle against "a myriad of" and using impact as a verb. Fuck it. People are just trying to stay employed; I can't blame them for not giving a fuck about writing minutia.
     
    Liut likes this.
  3. I’ve seen “5-1/3 innings” pop up. Bugs me but better than 5.1.
     
    TGO157 and bueller like this.
  4. Bronco77

    Bronco77 Well-Known Member

    My shop goes in the other direction. Our directive is to hyphenate sparingly. In the above examples, we'd go with "3 1/2 years," "2 1/2 decades" and no hyphen in major league. Our big debate right now is whether to follow AP in changing "percent" to the symbol. Unfortunately, and over my objections, the bosses are OK with "impact" as a verb. I've seen "efforting" in one of the nearby Gatehouse papers.
     
  5. Raven

    Raven Well-Known Member

    What about em dashes that used to break a sentence -- something like this?

    Makes me rage to no end.
     
  6. swingline

    swingline Well-Known Member

    A guy I know once saw a hyphen throw a puppy out a window. But that was years ago.
     
  7. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    Nothing wrong with an em dash when what follows is contradictory, dramatic or provocative.

    Em dashes, used correctly and sparingly, add punch or emphasis – and good writers value having that club in the bag.
     
    Liut likes this.
  8. Vombatus

    Vombatus Well-Known Member

    I see what you did there. Well played.
     
  9. FileNotFound

    FileNotFound Well-Known Member

    I was often scolded — or, perhaps more accurately, slapped — for my overuse of the em-dash back in my reporting days.
     
  10. OscarMadison

    OscarMadison Well-Known Member

    That used to be the nails on blackboard, excuse me, nails-on-blackboard thing that irked me even more than impact becoming a verb. I didn't mind it so much until Time Warner's DC people started using it to string together entire sentences in the 90s.
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
  11. Twirling Time

    Twirling Time Well-Known Member

    I will put on my design hat here and bitch about all the instances where an em-dash is substituted for by whatever:
    The underscore _
    The double hyphen —
    The single hyphen -
    The en-dash –
    And all variations of the above without spaces.
     
  12. Danwriter

    Danwriter Member

    I have a copyeditor at one pub who is a stickler for hyphenation, and she's got me doing it. I like the clarity it brings to certain adjective situations. And the Times last week did a piece on em dashes:
    The Em Dash Divides
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2019
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