or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Last week I wrote about typesetting a poster for a band I mistakenly thought was called Hot Shit, and now here's a Salon article about a band called Fucked Up, or rather the difficulties mainstream news organizations have in reporting a band called Fucked Up.


Are hyphens really that hard to get right? I know they have a lot of different uses, but all of them amount to the same thing: to join or separate words, as the case may be, to make reading and comprehension easier.

Here's the second half of a paragraph from a Salon.com story about noise pollution. Pay attention to the last sentence.

In 1972, Congress passed the Noise Control Act. The Environmental Protection Agency had its own Office of Noise Abatement and Control, which still exists today, but as an unfunded skeleton. What happened? "A man got elected president named Ronald Reagan and everything stopped," says Bronzaft. The Gipper decided that noise was best regulated by cities and states, but federal funding to help them evaporated. Attempts to refund the office have failed.

I had to read that damned sentence three times to figure out what was being said, whereas one judiciously placed hyphen would have made it all so easy.

"Refund" means "to repay; to return money to". "Re-fund", on the other hand, means "to restore funding to". Similar, but different.

Never take hyphens for granted!


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