3 of 7
3
HD: Ranting About Hyphens
Posted: 08 December 2012 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2879
Joined  2007-02-26

Council on Social Work Education initiated committee enhanced the definition of military social work and developed recommended competencies in military social work practice and education.

I’ll have a go....

I reckon (Council on Social Work Education initiated committee) is the subject, and it means a committee that was initiated by the Council on Social Work Education. They enhanced a definition and developed some recommended competencies, so it was quite a big week for them.

But yes, hanging is too good.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2012 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4461
Joined  2007-01-03

Wow. Bureaucratic lingo gone wild.

At least that one is mostly grammatically correct, except for the subject-verb agreement—it should be “was,” not “were.” But I can’t imagine how to say it intelligibly with anything approaching that structure. I’d go with: “The recruits were able to substitute their need for familial ties with peer camaraderie during their training.”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2012 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  633
Joined  2011-04-10

If I think of the first sentence as a fragment of a summary or resume, it almost makes sense as written if the indicated pauses are applied:

Council on Social Work Education:  initiated committee; enhanced the definition of military social work; and developed recommended competencies in military social work, practice, and education.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 December 2012 07:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2879
Joined  2007-02-26

or maybe as a free-form poem.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  267
Joined  2007-02-17

There are several things I don’t understand.

I don’t understand why Jen Doll’s ‘careful reader’ informed her that ‘pre-Civil War’ should take an en dash instead of a hyphen. What strange new rule is this?

I don’t understand why Dave dogmatically says that a dash should be an em dash with no spaces on either side. There is considerable difference of opinion on this: In The Elements of Typographic Style – which is the unofficial bible of the modern typographer  –  Robert Bringhurst recommends that dashes in text should be the en dash flanked by two spaces. This is much less visually disruptive than using the em dash with no space—which is recommended in editorial style books such as The Chicago Manual of Style — because there is less tension between the dash and the characters on either side of it. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/08/15/mind-your-en-and-em-dashes-typographic-etiquette/

I don’t understand why languagehat compares the use of dashes and hyphens with standardised spelling. Nobody would argue that idiosyncratic spelling slows down reading comprehension; I don’t believe, if all the em dashes and en dashes in English were suddenly replaced by hyphens, that reading comprehension would be affected a jot. Or that 99% of people would even notice.

(Yet despite my iconoclastic tendencies, I was very happy that my new laptop had a numeric keypad, so I could type em and en dashes on boards like this using the Alt codes. I am a very sad person.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 06:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1879
Joined  2007-02-19

Before perusing this thread, I’d never heard of an em-dash—or of an en-dash, for that matter.  Thanks, all, for the elucidation (I also checked out ellipsis, while I was at it. That was a new one, too). Though I can’t say I feel I’ve been deprived all these years.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4461
Joined  2007-01-03

I don’t understand why Jen Doll’s ‘careful reader’ informed her that ‘pre-Civil War’ should take an en dash instead of a hyphen. What strange new rule is this?

Open compounds like Civil War are joined in larger compounds with en dashes. So it’s pre–Civil War, not pre-Civil War. I assume so as to highlight that the War is also modified by pre, and not just Civil. I hadn’t heard of that one either, but it’s in Chicago.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 December 2012 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2217
Joined  2007-01-30
lionello - 10 December 2012 06:50 PM

Before perusing this thread, I’d never heard of an em-dash—or of an en-dash, for that matter.  Thanks, all, for the elucidation (I also checked out ellipsis, while I was at it. That was a new one, too). Though I can’t say I feel I’ve been deprived all these years.

In my case, lionello, they seem to come up every few years, I read, mark, learn and inwardly digest, then promptly forget all about the distinctions and go on in my slapdash way of hyphenating where necessary with a, well, hyphen. As a Scotsman of my acquaintance was fond of saying, I just can’t be arsed with it. I do recognize though that these distinct marks have their uses and in all probability had I the professional or academic obligations of many on the board I would follow the style guides.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  237
Joined  2007-02-16

Aldi, you’ve now complicated this whole vexed issue.  Besides the ens and ems and what-nots/what - nots/what—nots/what–nots/etc., you’ve gone and added a ‘slap’ dash. Suggest you inform us of the rules pertaining and give us the Alt. formula!

(See “....and go on in my slapdash way of hyphenating....")

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1363
Joined  2007-01-29

There are several things I don’t understand.

Same here.  I’m very grateful to the millions of folk who have decided to use just hyphens and dashes, just so that the likes of us needn’t worry our pretty little heads about things that don’t really make any difference whatsoever to our readers’ understanding. 

Linguistics experts, please stop trying to justify your existence by complicating writing when there’s no need. Aren’t you in favour of plain English?

I repeat my former question: what is wrong with using either hyphens or dashes, where appropriate, and calling them that?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 07:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2217
Joined  2007-01-30
Skibberoo - 11 December 2012 12:26 AM

Aldi, you’ve now complicated this whole vexed issue.  Besides the ens and ems and what-nots/what - nots/what—nots/what–nots/etc., you’ve gone and added a ‘slap’ dash. Suggest you inform us of the rules pertaining and give us the Alt. formula!

(See “....and go on in my slapdash way of hyphenating....")

Well spotted, skibs. I thought few would remember slapdash, the longest dash of all, sometimes known as the hundred-yard dash. As the em dash can represent a break in thought so slapdash represents a breakdown of thought and coherence. One member of the family yet remains. I’m talking balderdash, of course.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3331
Joined  2007-01-29

I don’t understand why Jen Doll’s ‘careful reader’ informed her that ‘pre-Civil War’ should take an en dash instead of a hyphen. What strange new rule is this?

It’s not a “strange new rule,” it’s an old rule you hadn’t been aware of.  All of us are largely ignorant about almost everything, which is good, it keeps life interesting.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3331
Joined  2007-01-29

Linguistics experts, please stop trying to justify your existence by complicating writing when there’s no need. Aren’t you in favour of plain English?

English, like anything else, should be as plain as is needed, but no plainer.

I repeat my former question: what is wrong with using either hyphens or dashes, where appropriate, and calling them that?

Because it’s not that simple.  If you don’t have a need for en dashes and em dashes, by all means ignore them, but there’s no need to insult people who need and use them (as in “stop trying to justify your existence").

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  633
Joined  2011-04-10

Pray, let us unforget the haberdash:

𝄼

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 December 2012 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
Avatar
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  237
Joined  2007-02-16

I would have expected LH’s response to ElizaD to have been http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 7
3