Re: The death of the hyphen
Dr Allen may be being unfair on the author of the article: the BMJ
has - for ever
as far as I know - expunged almost every hyphen from its articles. I think
BMJ believes hyphens are messy, and make the text look somehow
That's as may be but, as Dr Allen so correctly writes, hyphens make for
reading. It is, however, important that they are not used lazily in
strings of noun
modifiers. An article (not in the BMJ) included the phrase "fixed duration
constant rate infusions". The meaning is made clearer by two hyphens, but
better written as "infusions of constant rate and fixed duration".
The BMJ also dislikes capital letters. While there is no need for
Surgeons, simply altering all capitals to lower case may be wrong: an
the BMJ many years ago dealt with "conservative social commentators", who
have been conservative, but the correct sense was Conservative.