Hyper-Hyphenation : (noun) A lingovation which refers to the excessive use of the hyphen as a device to tie groups of words together in order to unite them as if a single thought.
--Douglas Castle (http://aboutdouglascastle.blogspot.com/)
Dear Readers (and you are one if you are reading this):
Americans are obsessed with things that are state-of-the-art, johnny-come-lately, jack-o'-lantern, cul-de-sac, fer-de-lance, anti-wrinkle, ne'er-do-well, deer-caught-in-the-headlights, flash-in-the-pan, bake-off, off-the-shelf, public-at-large, all-in-one, and the like. We love to hyphenate, just as the makers of fine champagnes (that's French!) and Coca Cola like to carbonate. I am an American -- therfore I hyphenate.
Hyphenation is often optional, but my elocution default setting always favors a gratuitous or possible hyphenation. It seems to add emphasis. It's a way to bypass the alternatives of boldface, CAPITALIZATION and italics in order to put a point across.
Some folks like to misuse quotation marks ( I recently drove past a restaurant bearing a sign which read, UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT! THE "BEST" FOOD AROUND! ) to add emphasis. This is not advisable when dealing with a literate audience or clientele, as it might create precisely the opposite perception of what was intended and cause the raising of many an eyebrow.
Bill Doerr, a colleague of mine and a fellow Featured Author for THE NATIONAL NETWORKER Newsletter [get your free subscription at http://twitlik.com/OK], wrote me a thoughtful letter, and in my response, I caught myself in the very act of hyper-hyphenation. An excerpt from the the correspondence follows:
--- On Mon, 8/31/09, Bill Doerr wrote:
From: Bill Doerr
Subject: Gentlemen . . . thought you'd find this of interest
To: "Adam J. Kovitz" , "Douglas Castle"
Date: Monday, August 31, 2009, 9:44 AM
Hi Guys . . .
Thank you very much for thinking of me (and sadly, of Adam, too...).
The seminar seems to be of great interest, but I have been working so hard at this cross-social-emedia-content-penetration-and-proliferation issue that I believe I am actually ready for the graduate level course.
All the very best.
Douglas (Long-Winded) Castle
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