Bite-sized Tips No. 15: Spellings Part 12 – Pesky Hyphens

Spellings Part 12 – Pesky Hyphens

DonkeyPesky = 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.

Please bear in mind that, as far as possible, I base the spellings on The New Oxford Style Manual and the OED.

1. bush-hammer

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)

8. audio-visual = hyphenated, not one word, according to Oxford. I don’t think many people will agree with this one, but it is hyphenated in the OED as well.

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.

Bite-sized Tips No. 14: Spellings Part 11 – Fighting the Spellcheckers

Bite-sized Tips No. 16: Times

This post was first published on 13/2/2015 on my previous blog.

Explore this blog by starting with the categories page

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.