Bye-bye (or is it byebye?) to 16,000 silly hyphens

Russell Smith in the Globe and Mail:

DictionaryDifferent journals or institutions use different style guides, so it is pointless to try to stick to one. There is a person at each institution called a copy editor whose job it is to have this guide by his or her side and to change each writer’s texts so that they conform to the rules. So I don’t have to worry about them. It’s like picking a typeface or a point size. Not my job.

And now I – and you, and all the copy editors – have to worry about these vagaries even less. That’s because the new edition of The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary has done away with about 16,000 hyphens. The editors of the dictionary have decided, in an awesome display of ruthless language modification, that the conventions of hyphenation were arbitrary and needed simplification. They changed most of the hyphenated words – such as leap-frog and ice-cream – by turning them into one word (leapfrog) or two distinct words (ice cream).

There are many reasons for this, one of them being that the rules of hyphenation were just silly.

More here.