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ARTICLES IN THE BOOK

  1. Adverbial
  2. Agentive ending
  3. Ain't
  4. American and British English differences
  5. American and British English pronunciation differences
  6. American and British English spelling differences
  7. American English
  8. Amn't
  9. Anglophone
  10. Anglosphere
  11. Apostrophe
  12. Australian English
  13. Benjamin Franklin's phonetic alphabet
  14. Bracket
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  16. British English
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  18. Certificate of Proficiency in English
  19. Classical compound
  20. Cockney
  21. Colon
  22. Comma
  23. Comma splice
  24. Cut Spelling
  25. Dangling modifier
  26. Dash
  27. Definite article reduction
  28. Disputed English grammar
  29. Don't-leveling
  30. Double copula
  31. Double negative
  32. Ellipsis
  33. English alphabet
  34. English compound
  35. English declension
  36. English English
  37. English grammar
  38. English honorifics
  39. English irregular verbs
  40. English language learning and teaching
  41. English modal auxiliary verb
  42. English orthography
  43. English passive voice
  44. English personal pronouns
  45. English phonology
  46. English plural
  47. English relative clauses
  48. English spelling reform
  49. English verbs
  50. English words with uncommon properties
  51. Estuary English
  52. Exclamation mark
  53. Foreign language influences in English
  54. Full stop
  55. Generic you
  56. Germanic strong verb
  57. Gerund
  58. Going-to future
  59. Grammatical tense
  60. Great Vowel Shift
  61. Guillemets
  62. Habitual be
  63. History of linguistic prescription in English
  64. History of the English language
  65. Hyphen
  66. I before e except after c
  67. IELTS
  68. Initial-stress-derived noun
  69. International Phonetic Alphabet for English
  70. Interpunct
  71. IPA chart for English
  72. It's me
  73. Languages of the United Kingdom
  74. Like
  75. List of animal adjectives
  76. List of British idioms
  77. List of British words not widely used in the United States
  78. List of case-sensitive English words
  79. List of commonly confused homonyms
  80. List of common misspellings in English
  81. List of common words that have two opposite senses
  82. List of dialects of the English language
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  85. List of English homographs
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  88. List of English suffixes
  89. List of English words invented by Shakespeare
  90. List of English words of Celtic origin
  91. List of English words of Italian origin
  92. List of English words with disputed usage
  93. List of frequently misused English words
  94. List of Fumblerules
  95. List of homophones
  96. List of -meters
  97. List of names in English with non-intuitive pronunciations
  98. List of words having different meanings in British and American English
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  100. London slang
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  133. Silent E
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  135. Slash
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  137. Space
  138. Spelling reform
  139. Split infinitive
  140. Subjective me
  141. Suffix morpheme
  142. Tag question
  143. Than
  144. The Reverend
  145. Third person agreement leveling
  146. Thou
  147. TOEFL
  148. TOEIC
  149. Truespel
  150. University of Cambridge ESOL examination
  151. Weak form and strong form
  152. Welsh English
  153. Who
  154. You
 



THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyphen

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

Hyphen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

A hyphen ( -, or ) is a punctuation mark. It is used both to join words and to separate syllables. It is often confused with a dash ( , , ), which is longer and has a different function. Hyphenation is the use of hyphens.

Rules and customs of usage

A definitive collection of hyphen rules does not exist. Therefore, the writer or editor should consult a manual of style or dictionary of his or her preference, particularly for the country in which they are writing. The rules of style that apply to dashes and hyphens have evolved to support ease of reading in complex constructions; editors often accept deviations from them that will support, rather than hinder, ease of reading.

  • Except for noun-noun and adverb-adjective compound modifiers, when a compound modifier appears before a term, the compound modifier is generally hyphenated to prevent any possible misunderstanding, such as twentieth-century invention, cold-hearted person, and award-winning show. Without the hyphens, there is potential confusion about whether "twentieth" applies to "century" or "invention", and similar.
  • Hyphens are generally not used in noun-noun or adverb-adjective compound modifiers when no such confusion is possible; for example:
    • government standards organization and department store manager
    • wholly owned subsidiary and quickly moving vehicle (because the adverbs end in ly)
  • Hyphenation is also common with adjective-noun compound modifiers but, arguably, less generally. Examples are real-world example and left-handed catch. Where the adjective-noun phrase would be plural standing alone, it usually becomes singular and hyphenated when modifying another noun. For example, four days becomes four-day week.
  • Two-word names of numbers less than one hundred are hyphenated. For instance, the number 23 should be written twenty-three, and 123 should be written one hundred [and] twenty-three. (The and is normally included in British, Australian and New Zealand English but often omitted in American English.)
  • Hyphens are occasionally used to denote syllabification, as in syl-lab-i-fi-ca-tion. Most American dictionaries use an interpunct, sometimes called a "middle dot" or "hyphenation point", for this purpose, as in syl·lab·i·fi·ca·tion.
  • Hyphens are sometimes used in English to denote syllable breaks, particularly for prefixes, as when a (repeated) vowel is pronounced on its own rather than being silent or merged in a diphthong, as in 'co-operate' and 're-enlist' or even 'de-ice' and 're-ink', where some other languages (and some English authorities) use a diaresis like this: 'noël' or 'coöperate'.
  • Some words are hyphenated to distinguish them from other words that would otherwise be homographs, such as "recreation" (fun or sport) and "re-creation" (in forensics), or "predate" (what a predator does) and "pre-date" (to be of an earlier calendar date).
  • If a word begins on one line of text and continues into the following line, a hyphen is usually inserted immediately before the split. Note that the details of doing this properly are complex and language-dependent and that they interact with other typesetting practices: see justification and hyphenation algorithm.
  • Some married couples compose a new surname (sometimes referred to as a double-barrelled name) for their new family by combining their two surnames with a hyphen. Jane Doe and John Smith might become Jane and John Smith-Doe, or Doe-Smith, for instance. In some countries, however, only the woman hyphenates her birth surname, appending her husband's surname.
  • A hyphen may be used in quotations to imply the spelling of a word such as "W-O-R-D spells word."
  • Hyphens are used to connect numbers and words, whether numerals or written out, as in 28-year-old woman (cf. twenty-eight-year-old woman) or 36-year veteran, in forming adjectival phrases. This is particularly used when forming adjectival phrases for weights and measures, such as "98-pound weakling" or "320-foot wingspan." The SI recommends against this practice when using metric units.
  • They are also used in spelled-out fractions used as adjectives (but not as nouns), such as 'two-thirds majority' and 'one-eighth portion'.

The use of the hyphen has, in general, been steadily declining, both in popular writing and in scholarly journals. Its use is almost always avoided by those who write for newspapers, for advertising copy or for labels on packaging, since they are often more concerned with visual cleanliness than semantic clarity; the words are left with spaces. However, it is still used in most (American) newspapers and magazines; hence, people remain accustomed to seeing and understanding its use. In other countries hyphens are dropped in favour of connecting the two-word compounds.

Traditionally an en dash ('–') replaces the hyphen in hyphenated compounds if either of its constituent parts is already hyphenated or contains a space.

Examples of usage

Some strong examples of semantic changes caused by the placement of hyphens:

  • disease causing poor nutrition, meaning a disease that causes poor nutrition
  • disease-causing poor nutrition, meaning poor nutrition that causes disease
  • a man-eating shark is a carnivorous fish
  • a man eating shark is a male human in the active process of consuming a shark.

Additional examples of proper use:

  • text-only document or …document that is only in text
  • Detroit-based organization or …organization that is based in Detroit
  • state-of-the-art product or …product is state-of-the-art (product is an advanced state does not contain hyphens)
  • board-certified strategy or …strategy that is certified by the board
  • thought-provoking argument or …argument that provokes thought
  • time-sensitive error or …error that is sensitive to time
  • case-sensitive password or …password that is sensitive to case
  • government-issued photo ID or …photo ID that is issued by the government (…is issued by the government does not contain hyphens)
  • light-absorbing material or …material that absorbs light
  • award-winning novel or …novel that won an award or multiple awards (but, more likely, …won an award with no hyphen)
  • web-based encyclopedia or …encyclopedia that is based on the web
  • fun-loving person or …person who loves fun
  • how to wire-transfer funds or …how to transfer funds by wire
  • how to tax-plan or …how to plan for taxes
  • advertising-supported service or service that is supported by advertising
  • Rudolph Giuliani is an Italian-American (but see hyphenated American)
  • list of China-related topics …list of topics that are related to China
  • out-of-body experience
  • near-death experience
  • in surnames, for example Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Origin and history of the hyphen

In medieval times and the early days of printing, the predecessor of the comma was a slash. As the hyphen ought not to be confused with this, a double-slash was used, this resembling an equals sign tilted like a slash. Writing forms changed with time, and included the full development of the comma, so the hyphen could become one horizontal stroke.

However, publishers of dictionaries liked that a tilted symbol would give them a little extra room in their books. Those dictionaries based on the second edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary used one small, slightly tilted slash for a hyphen which they added at the end of a line where they broke the word, but used a double-slash much like the very old symbol to indicate a hyphen which needs to be in a phrase and just happened to get at the end of the line. This double-slash would be used in hyphenated phrases in the middle of the text as well, so that there would be no confusion.

Hyphens in computing

In the ASCII character encoding, the hyphen was encoded as character 45. Technically, this character is called the hyphen-minus, as it is also used as the minus sign and for dashes. In Unicode, this same character is encoded as U+002D so that Unicode remains compatible with ASCII. However, Unicode also encodes the hyphen and minus separately, as U+2010 ( ‐ ) and U+2212 ( − ), respectively, along with a series of dashes. Usage of the hyphen-minus character is discouraged where possible, in favour of the specific hyphen character.

When flowing text, it is sometimes preferable to break a word in half so that it continues on another line rather than moving the entire word to the next line. Since it is difficult for a computer program to automatically make good decisions on when to hyphenate a word the concept of a soft hyphen was introduced to allow manual specification of a place where a hyphenated break was allowed without forcing a line break in an inconvenient place if the text was later reflowed. Soft hyphens are most useful when the width is known but future editability is desired, as few would have the patience to put them in at every place they believed a hyphenated split was acceptable (as would be needed for their meaningful use on a medium like the Web).

When flowing text, a system may consider the soft hyphen to be a point at which a word may be broken, and display a hyphen at the end of the broken line; if the line is not broken at that point the hyphen is not displayed. In most parts of ISO-8859 the soft hyphen is at position 0xAD, and since the first 256 positions in unicode are taken from ISO-8859-1, it has a unicode codepoint of U+00AD. In HTML, the soft hyphen is encoded as the character entity "­".

Most text systems consider a hyphen to be a word boundary and a valid point at which to break a line when flowing text. However, this is not always desirable behavior, especially when it could lead to ambiguity (such as in the examples given before, where "recreation" and "re-creation" would be indistinguishable). For this purpose, Unicode also encodes a non-breaking hyphen as U+2011 ( ‑ ). This character looks identical to the regular hyphen, but is not treated as a word boundary.

The ASCII hyphen-minus character is also often used when specifying parameters to programs in a command line interface. The character is usually followed by one or more letters that indicate specific actions. Typically it is called a dash in this context. This is used in many different operating systems, particularly Unix and Unix-like systems. DOS and Microsoft Windows also sometimes make use of the hyphen, although the use of a forward slash (/) is more prevalent there. A parameter by itself that is only a single hyphen without any letters usually means that a program is supposed to handle data coming from the standard input or send data to the standard output. Two hyphen-minus characters ( -- ) are used on some programs to specify "long options" where more descriptive action names are used. This is a common feature of GNU software.

International Standard dates

Continental Europeans use the hyphen to delineate parts within a written date. Germans and Slavs also used Roman numerals for the month; 14‑vii‑1789, for example, is one way of writing the first Bastille Day, though this usage is rapidly falling out of favour. Plaques on the wall of the Moscow Kremlin are written this way. Usage of hyphens, as opposed to the slashes used in the English language, is specified for international standards.

International standard ISO 8601, which was accepted as European Standard EN 28601 and incorporated into various typographic style guides (e.g., DIN 5008 in Germany), brought about a new standard using the hyphen. Now all official European governmental documents use this. These norms prescribe writing dates using hyphens: 1789-07-14 is the new way of writing the first Bastille Day.

This method has even gained influence within North America. This is due to the fact that most common computer filesystems make the use of slashes difficult or impossible. Windows uses the \ as the directory separator, and / (which is used for switches to commands) is also forbidden. Unix-like systems use / as a directory separator and while \ is legal in filenames it is awkward to use as the shell uses it as an escape character. The non-year form is also identical apart from the separator used to the standard American representation. The ISO date format is also sorted correctly by a dumb sort routine which can be useful in many computing situations including the aforementioned filenames. Many computer systems and IT technicians have switched to this method. The government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for example, has switched to this method, although it has not yet been imposed upon society at large.

See also

  • Hyphen War
  • Double hyphen
  • Dash

External links

  • Economist Style Guide — Hyphens
  • Jukka Korpela, Soft hyphen (SHY) - a hard problem?
  • Markus Kuhn, Unicode interpretation of SOFT HYPHEN breaks ISO 8859-1 compatibility. Unicode Technical Committee document L2/03-155R, June 2003.
  • Igor Podlubny, On-line Hyphenator (hyphenates Slovak)
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyphen"
 

 

 

 


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