Bulletin editor craftBy Lloyd Davis, G&S judge
All about hyphensThere are a lot of rules about hyphens that are often disregarded.
They are often used erroneously in place of better punctuation such as dashes or colons. A hyphen is used between two words, when it's meant to be a dash (-). This confuses the reader and causes the two words to appear as a compound modifier. A compound modifier must be connected with hyphens: a run-of-the-mill town; a three-legged table.
Hyphens are not used following "very" and other adjectives ending in "ly."
Hyphens should not be used with a space on either side.
Using one or more suspensive hyphens when two or more compound modifiers are used in a series: one-, two- and three-year members.
Avoid excessive use of hyphens to carry a word from one line to the next. Words should not be split on more than two successive lines. However, don't leave excessive white spaces by refusing to ever split words.
When splitting words is considered necessary, they must be split by syllables. If in doubt, consult a dictionary. One-syllable words may not be split, in spite of what you may see in your local newspaper.
Don't split words when a syllable consists of only one letter: a-bout, might-y.
It is considered bad form to carry only two letters to the next line. The last line of a paragraph should not consist of only part of a split word.
Do not split words when it would result in reader confusion: rein-force, coin-cidence.
When splitting a word to which "ing" has been added, split the word where it ended before adding "ing": dig-ging, roll-ing.
Don't use two hyphens (--) to indicate a dash, unless your equipment is not capable of printing a dash (-). I prefer not using a space on either side of a dash-but some publications do. Be consistent.
DatesWhen writing a month and date, abbreviate the month (except for the months of March through July). Use these abbreviations: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept. (or Sep.), Oct., Nov., Dec.
Spell out all months when writing a month and year, with no comma after the month.
Spell out all months when standing alone.
When writing a month, date and year, both the date and year must be followed by a comma (except at the end of a sentence).
When writing a month and date, do not use suffixes with the date: Jan. 3 (not Jan. 3rd).
Do not use all numerals to indicate dates in text: Sept. 8, 1996 (not 9-8-96 or 9/8/96).
HackneyedIn 1990 I read that the most overused phrase in 1989 was "state-of-the art." Yet it is still regularly (and monotonously) used.
Here are some phrases that don't make much sense or are boring-or both: