6 Tips for Using Hyphens Like a Professional Editor


Have you noticed that, lately, you’re less inclined to stick a hyphen between words? That is, you’re looking at a term like “a time honored tradition,” realizing you could put a hyphen in “time-honored,” then thinking, “Nah. It’s clear enough as it is.”

You’re not alone. Hyphens, it seems, are becoming a little passe. Even the Associated Press Stylebook is going lighter on the hyphens these days. And if you’re wondering how that’s possible, it’s because hyphenation has always been as much an art as a science.

“Use of the hyphen is far from standardized. It is optional in most cases, a matter of taste, judgment and style sense,” is how a tweet from the AP Stylebook puts it.

That’s great news for people who don’t want to fuss over hyphens. But it can be bad news for folks who do — writers who want their punctuation to look as professional as possible.

So, with those eager-to-please hyphenaters in mind, here's my recent column offering are six tips to let you hyphenate like a professional editor.


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