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For example: 'coworkers' and 'cooperation'.
I simply cannot but see them as (approximately) 'cow-orkers' and 'coop-eration'. It often makes for some interesting flights of fancy.
Are their other similar examples?
Personally I prefer the unhyphenated forms. Not for any thought-out linguistic reasons, but just because I like the more concentrated effect.
>2 Mr.Durick: rdurick.... I see what you mean about gunshy. Don't think I've ever encountered that one, and I have to admit that I still read misled as 'mizzled'.
>3 PhaedraB: PhaedraB... For those of us ahead of the pack I think it has to be email.
The chapter on hyphens in Eats, Shoots and Leaves (which is called, I think, "A Little Used Mark") cites the examples of the "little used car", the "pickled herring merchant" and the "hundred odd members of Parlaiment" (or, in my case, Congress). All three fall into the same category.
I also like the examples for the related problem illustrated by "deice" and "shelllike" ("de-ice" and "shell-like", respectively).
I'm actually trying to work out how to teach hyphenation to my high school students as I am forever inserting hyphens in adjectives that precede nouns (much-needed haircut, long-anticipated anniversary).
When it comes to language use, I cherish clarity and specificity. That, after all, is what punctuation in particular is supposed to serve?
I suggest you read (and possibly have your high-schoolers read) Eats, Shoots and Leaves.
You might also consider Mind the Gaffe!, which is more of a general writing guide: its focus is more on things like spelling and usage. R. L. Trask was (he died in 2004) an American who spent most of his career in England, so there's plenty on the differences between the British and American forms of the language. There are two entries that are particularly good entries which are funny mostly for appearing together alphabetically. They are knickers*, followed by knock up**.
* US: a certain kind of funny pants; UK: what we call "panties"
** UK: to knock on someone's door; US: to get someone pregnant
I'll hyphenate if it doesn't look right without it. In fact sometimes I tend towards overhyphenation-that-turns-into-entire- sentences-worth-of-hyphenated-word.
But when I'm writing short stories I'm more likely to writeabunchofwordstogether, for the sake of flow, than hyphenate, which breaks the flow.
I'm not a fan of Eats, Shoots and Leaves (which has an unsparkling style and is no fun to read) but I do like She Literally Exploded, which lists a lot of pet peeves, dictionary style.
Excellent initiative by booksloth, although one day, being identified as a pedant may lead to 'burning at the steak'!