Thousands of hyphens perish as English marches on

"People are not confident about using hyphens anymore, they're not really sure what they are for," said Angus Stevenson, editor of the Shorter OED, the sixth edition of which was published this week.

Another factor in the hyphen's demise is designers' distaste for its ungainly horizontal bulk between words.

"Printed writing is very much design-led these days in adverts and Web sites, and people feel that hyphens mess up the look of a nice bit of typography," he said. "The hyphen is seen as messy looking and old-fashioned."

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  1. I love the hyphen and I really am deeply sad about its demise.

  2. I love the hyphen - it's not old-fashioned at all. I think there should be more of them around - particularly on blogs.