Suspensive Hyphenation: United We Stand
Posted by June on August 22, 2016


In our society, we entrust certain individuals with immense power based, in large part, on our sincere belief and hope that they'll act as unifiers, not dividers.

It's a tall order.

Sure, it's easy to bring together those already close to each other. But the ability to reach out, across a divide, to join diverse players so they can all work together as one — that's true leadership.

That's why, regardless of stripe or creed, we should all seize the opportunity to make full use of the talents of the greatest unifier at our disposal.

I’m speaking, of course, about the hyphen.

Here’s a lesson on suspensive hyphenation that’s also a lesson in how to reach across the aisle.

Apostrophe Imposters Are Out to Get You
Posted by June on August 15, 2016

Of all the nitpicky tasks I perform while copyediting and proofreading, here’s the nitpickiest: You know how you use apostrophes when you write rock ’n’ roll or ’80s or  ’twas? Well, my job includes making sure that those apostrophes are actually apostrophes and not apostrophe imposters.

Type rock ’n’ roll into Microsoft Word, look at the marks around N, and you’ll make a shocking discovery: Your software is out to get you. If your program is set to its defaults, chances are that the mark before the N is not an apostrophe but instead an open single quotation mark. You know, the ones you use for quotations within quotations, as in, “I heard someone yell, ‘Wait!’”

The difference is that the open single quotation mark curves to the right, like the letter C. The apostrophe curves to the left, making it identical to a closing single quotation mark in most fonts.

Of course, some fonts and printers and computer programs don’t curve their apostrophes at all. In those programs, the apostrophe looks like a straight dagger. So does their opening single quotation mark. With those programs, you can’t go wrong. But most of the time, whenever you type an apostrophe at the beginning of a word or number, your word-processing software will assume you’re starting to quote something and turn your apostrophe into a single quote mark.



A Great Unifier
Posted by June on August 8, 2016


Our politicians could learn a thing or two from the humble hyphen. A quick lesson in suspensive hyphenation shows just how powerful you can be when you reach across a divide to bring disparate elements together. Here's my column on suspensive hyphenation as a lesson in leadership.

More Fun with Prefixes
Posted by June on August 1, 2016


It sounded like a straightforward question: should "cybercrimes" should be written as one word, two words or hyphenated? The answer, though, isn't so simple. It comes down to whether "cybercrimes" is already in the dictionary and, if not, whether "cyber" is a hyphen or a word. When it's both, which it is, you have all kinds of choices, which I explain in a recent column.