Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Show 497 Wednesday 12 September


Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.


Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show.

Wednesday is mistake day. And the other day I found a mistake on a sign here at Acadia. So today I went back to take a photo of the sign, but I completely forgot where the building was so you’re just going to take my word for it that there was actually a sign like that. The mistake was this: thank you was written with a hyphen.

I thought it was pretty funny because I don’t think I’ve ever seen it written with a hyphen before. That’s not a common mistake as far as I know. But people often make mistakes with hyphens, including me. I don’t think I’ve never written thank you with a hyphen, but I’ve made other mistakes. On The Daily English Show once I wrote no one with a hyphen. No one has no hyphen.

Recently I discovered something interesting about hyphens. I’ve been doing some work subediting for a magazine called Sceen, which is made in Germany. So the writers are all German and their English is excellent and their writing is good ... but their first language is German so sometimes they make some odd mistakes. Well odd to me because I don’t speak German so sometimes I think: "Why on earth would you write something like that?" And then I ask them and they say, "Oh, that’s how it’s written in German." So that’s where the mistake comes from. So it’s really interesting.
And in German they seem to use a lot of hyphens in places that we don’t in English. So when I’m checking the writing I come across a lot of random hyphens.

Anyway, when should you use hyphens? Well, I’d recommend taking a look at the Wikipedia section on hyphens. They have some examples of usage there.

Some very interesting things to note, like this:

A definitive collection of hyphen rules does not exist. Therefore, the writer or editor should consult a manual of style or dictionary of his or her preference, particularly for the country in which he or she is writing.

One example of hyphen use that depends on the country is coworker/co-worker.

This is also from Wikipedia:

The use of the hyphen has, in general, been steadily declining, both in popular writing and in scholarly journals.

So whether or not you use a hyphen is sometimes just up to you. And if you’re writing for an academic institution or a publication then you should check what the style is.

I would tend to not use hyphens if there is no possible confusion. But sometimes there is a possibility of misunderstanding, so it’s better to use a hyphen.
For example: American-football player.
If there’s no hyphen you could be talking about a football player who is American or you could be talking about a football player who plays American football.

If in doubt about hyphens, just check or ask somebody. Sometimes if I’m not sure about grammar or spelling, I just type something into Google and then if it’s wrong it’ll come up: Do you mean such and such? That’s not a perfect system – but it can help.

And of course, with things like goodbye, no one, thank you – they never take hyphens and you just have to remember that.



STICK NEWS

Kia Ora in Stick News today, the Prime Minister of Japan has announced he will resign.

On the 26th September 2006, Shinzo Abe became the prime minister of Japan. Now, less than a year later, he has decided to quit.
Kyodo news quoted Abe as saying, “under the current situation it has become difficult for me to secure the people's support and trust to vigorously implement policies”.
The Chief Cabinet Secretary said that Abe's health was also a reason behind his resignation.
The Liberal Democratic Party will now hold a party presidential election to replace Abe.
Kyodo news says LDP Secretary General Taro Aso is seen as a major contender.


And that was Stick News for Wednesday the 12th of September.
Kia Ora.





conversations with sarah
#306 Where are you staying?

Step 1: Repeat Maria’s lines.
Step 2: Read Maria’s lines and talk to Sarah.

Maria Where are you staying?

Sarah We’re doing a home stay.

Maria What are your hosts like?

Sarah Great. We’re staying with a woman and her two sons.

Maria What does she do?

Sarah She’s a yoga teacher and a chef.

Maria Cool. The food must be good.

Sarah Yeah. It’s awesome. It’s like the perfect place to stay – she’s really nice, amazing food and the bedroom’s massive. It’s like double the size of my entire apartment in Tokyo.

Maria Is it close to the university?

Sarah Yeah, it’s pretty close. It takes about 25 minutes door-to-door. That’s without carrying stuff. If we’re carrying equipment, it takes a bit longer.



links

today's news

today's STICK NEWS pictures

Acadia links

Study English at Acadia University
Acadia University
Acadia's YouTube channel

music

show start
artist: AdHoc
album: Toutes directions
track: La note en cage
from: Annecy, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

cws start
artist: San Sebastian
track: Happy Sad
artist site

qa start
artist: Manu Cornet
album: Distance & Temps
track: Silk Road
from: Paris, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

qa bgm
artist: AdHoc
album: Toutes directions
track: Retard
from: Annecy, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would tend to not use hyphens if there is no possible confusion

or

I would tend not to use hyphens if there were no possible confusion
?? ???
??????

The Daily English Show said...

Hi Anonymous,

Do you mean, which is correct?

Just off the top of my head, I would say they are both OK. Perhaps the second is better for written English.

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

"And of course, with things like goodbye, no one, thank you – they never take hyphens and you just have to remember that."

Never take hyphens? Maybe it would help to learn English yourself? Good-bye and no-one are perfectly valid with hyphens, altho' I haven't seen thank-you with one.