Monday, May 29, 2006

AP and the hyphen

AP has added some language to the hyphen entriy in the 2006 Stylebook:

Use of the hyphen is far from standardized. It is optional in most cases, a matter of taste, judgment and style sense. But the fewer hyphens the better; use them only when not using them causes confusion. (Small-businessman, but health care center.) See individual entries in this book. If not listed here, use the first listed entry in Webster's New World College Dictionary.
The inclusion of "health care center" clears up a continuing question. (Note, for instance, this contrasts with the Wall Street Journal, which hyphenates that and many other terms. I happen to like the WSJ's style, never having understood journalists' aversion to hyphens, but am more than willing to follow AP now that stylebook editor Norm Goldstein has made it clear.)

From the new Web feature Ask The Editor (unlike the online stylebook, this section is free), Goldstein also notes AP would not use the hyphen in fixed income portfolio or personal injury law.



At 5/29/06, 2:30 PM, Blogger fev said...

Hmm. Hate to disagree with Norm or the scriptures, but "small-businessman" is as silly as "elementary-schoolchild." Business and school, not businessman and schoolchild, are the nouns being modified. I'd use "small-business operator" (seems a bit 1950s to presume they're all guys) and "elementary school student."

At 5/29/06, 2:37 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

I agree that example could have been better chosen.

At 5/29/06, 5:03 PM, Blogger fev said...

Oh, don't mind me. I'm just grumpy because I'm not within driving range of the garlicky-pork-sausage-stuffed fried crab whateveryoucallits that everybody else is having.


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