I love hyphens




Huge Rug Sale
Originally uploaded by Bacon sandwich

All too rarely do you see anyone coming out in favour of particular punctuation marks. With the obvious exception of the punctilious Lynne Truss, I’ve not seen a panegyrical prose to punctuation for a long while so in a bid to correct this injustice, I offer you my homage to the hyphen.

First up, let’s just look at this sign. What do they mean? Are they advertising that here, in this Canadian suburb, it’s possible to purchase rugs of enormous dimensions. Is it that the discounts available are huge, that the space available is large or that the range is fit for a persian King?

Had the sign had space, a hyphen would have made it all so much easier to understand. “Huge Rug-Sale” it would exclaim or even “Huge-Rug Sale” and we’d all know whether to expect floor coverings of the most preposterous proportions or simply a wide range of offerings at a discounted price.

Things are clearer, less ambiguous with a hyphen. Feel free to use one today, it’ll cost yer nothing.


Next week, “I love semi-colons” (reader, notice the hyphen?)