Writing with hyphens can be tricky business.
As with the word was, hyphens is another Achilles heel. Sometimes I sprinkle hyphens about like scattering rose petals at a wedding. Too many!
Even some of the grammar programs disagree. But if you’ve ever published an ebook you’ll see what I mean. And a strayed hyphen can get left behind in print books too.
Hyphens can throw off the formatting until the reader becomes confused as to the meaning of the word. Don’t make the reader turn back pages to figure out what’s happening.
So what to do with compound words?
Hyphen or not to hyphen that is the question.
And the answer can be found in a terrific article by Connie J. Jasperson which is filled with lots of do’s, don’ts and tips. Plus, she provides extensive words to remember. This is a definite bookmark.
What did I learn about using hyphens?
- Even when using “made up” words, tread carefully.
- Don’t use unless your make-believe world will explode without it. (Oops)
- Single words and don’t need a hyphen.
- I have started checking the Urban Dictionary for help on some words.
- Only use a hyphen to ensure the meaning of a word.
- Like, roundup as in a rodeo, or round up as in a review or the next highest round number
- Some compounds are improvised to fulfill a specific need.
- There are permanent compounds and temporary compounds. (Who knew.)
- When in doubt leave it out. Unless…
- Your intended meaning is clear without the hyphen, leave it out.
- Add special words and names to your manuscript style sheet.
- Especially made up words.
- This will help ensure consistency in your manuscript.
- Oh, and a hyphen is not an En dash or an Em dash.
So much is packed in her article, I encourage you to click on her link and read the entire thing.
Hyphens #amwriting By Connie J. Jasperson
Do you use hyphens Willie-Nillie?
What do you think?
Is this all old stuff to you?
Keep reading, here is another article on using this little devil.
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