Spellings Part 12 – Pesky Hyphens
Pesky = annoying, disagreeable, hateful. I guess that does just about sum up how I feel sometimes when trying to grapple with the use of hyphens in the English language. Some of today’s words may surprise or even exasperate you, but I can assure you that I’m only trying to be helpful with these posts. Honest.
2. cross-sell (and cross-selling) is hyphenated, but
3. upsell (and upselling) is spelled as one word
4. check-in is hyphenated (except if it’s a verb), but
5. checkout is not as it’s one word (again, except if it’s a verb)
6. cross reference = two words as a noun, but hyphenated when used as a verb (to cross-reference)
7. cross-refer = hyphenated (just as cross-reference is when used as a verb)
9. preschool = one word, definitely no hyphens, and not pre school
10. extracurricular or extra-curricular? Apparently not even Oxford can decide given that the Spelling Dictionary and the Dictionary for Writers and Editors differ. The former lists the hyphenated version, while the later clearly states that it should be written as one word (alongside extramarital and extramural, which, by the way, the Spelling Dictionary does also list as one word). Given that both my versions of these books were printed in 2005, I cannot even assume that they have changed their minds in the interim. Can the OED help? Well, despite the entry only providing extra-curricular as an option, it then goes on to give three examples using extracurricular out of the total four. Meriam Webster says it’s one word, so does the American Heritage Dictionary. I think I’ll be joining the Americans with this one when strict observance to Oxford doesn’t matter as I don’t like the hyphen here at all.
This post was first published on 13/2/2015 on my previous blog.
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