June 5, 2009

Hyphen mayhem

We have a client here who, apparently, has a writer on staff--or at least some kind of wannabe proofreader. This week, we've been having a hyphen saga, complete with Chicago Manual of Style quotes and lots of eye rolling.


Hyphens are my thing. I like hyphens. They are impeccable little blips of perfection that convey the exact meaning. I just had to retype "impeccable" there 3 times to get the spelling right, but I'm a one-shot deal with hyphens.

Unfortunately, client trumps logic.

So, if you'll allow me to vent what I cannot pass along up the food chain:

"Albany area stores" (sans hyphen) means stores in Albany that sell areas.

"8 to 9-year plan" (again, sans hyphen after the 8) means a plan that's either 9 years in the making, or the number 8.

I'm now stepping off the punctuation soapbox and off to get me a Beaver Tail.


  1. -can't-stop-cring-ing-

    How many times have I quoted to clients from the Chicago Manual of Style on this topic? Let's just say that page is dog eared. Or is it dog-eared? Doggeared?

    /grammar snark

  2. Well, at least I'm relieved that other people's clients think grammar rules are optional. But dang if I didn't think at least a few of them would think "how fascinating! I didn't know that!" instead of making us backspace the poor hyphen into oblivion...

  3. I have a long time client who has been named (by me) the Hyphen God. He rules my text with the AP Stylebook! I now know to put a space before and after my use of the ellipses, too. I had no idea how much all this would matter to me when I grew up!!

  4. Oh, it matters, adchick, it matters... (insert maniacal laughter here).

  5. The fun part is when you're asked for references and evidence that what you're saying is true. nothing like trust in the work place eh?

  6. Joker: The even more fun part is when you produce said reference and the client responds with a "whatever, I don't like it so don't do it."

  7. Funny how so many clients have the maturity and grammar skills of a give year old.