Hyphen in decline

September 24, 2007

The BBC reports: “The sixth edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary has knocked the hyphens out of 16,000 words, many of them two-word compound nouns.” The cause? Since the majority of our communication is typed, and hyphens slow down typing, people have been using the hyphen less and jamming two words together — or separating them with the much-easier-to-reach space bar.

jovike
Flickr: Jovike

Many of the examples cited in the piece are already un-hyphenated according to American English standards. I mean, who writes “pigeon-hole” this side of the pond? (Check out the comments, though, for some real egregious errors.)

On a last note, I invite hyphen lovers to switch to Dvorak. On my keyboard, the hyphen is reeeal easy to reach.

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