That Annoying Hyphen is Gone!

A celebration is in order: The Associated Press Stylebook has officially banished that annoying hyphen from the word e-mail: It’s now email. And the good news isn’t over: website is now one word with no capital letter. Bring out the champagne!

You can read a Washington Post  story about how and why the decision was made by clicking here – and you should. Everyone who’s serious about writing should know how these decisions are made.

You should know, for example, that the Associated Press Stylebook is a usage reference book widely used by journalists, so this decision will have far-reaching effects and will probably spread beyond newspapers and magazines.

This is probably a good opportunity to review a few basic facts about hyphens.

Hyphens tend to disappear over time, so often you’re going to have to make a judgment call about including or excluding them. (I stopped using that hyphen in email years ago.)

  • Use a hyphen when a) two describing words go together and b) a noun immediately follows.

The lawn-mower shop will be closed next week.  (Shop is a noun: Use a hyphen)

I need to get my lawn mower serviced.  (No hyphen)

  • Don’t use a hyphen with –ly words.

That’s a poorly written story.  (No hyphen)

To learn more about hyphens, click here.

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