Re: On-line vs. online

Subject: Re: On-line vs. online
From: Tracey Showalter <tshowalt -at- SCTCORP -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1993 13:50:45 -0500

Reply to: RE>>On-line vs. online

To throw in my few cents:

What I remember from one of my linguistics courses (and it's been
a few years) is that to hyphenate or not to hyphenate is largely a
matter of historical accident. The professor went through a very
interesting comparison (which I no longer remember) of sample words,
highlighting all the inconsistencies among compound nouns that appear
alternately as one word, two words, or one hyphenated word. In a rule-
bound world, this is one area with no rules, just style guides....

Tracey Showalter
tshowalt -at- sctcorp -dot- com

You wrote:
I have noticed that most of you are hyphenating on-line. Our company has been
hyphenating it too, having changed it from the one-word usage the programmers
preferred. Now I hear rumblings that the co. is considering changing back to
online. In my readings I see it both ways.

I've seen a trend toward taking hyphens out of everything. I tend to prefer it
that way, since the words seem clearer and simpler without a hyphen (to me). I
don't know if anyone's done a true usability study, but I seem to remember
reading somewhere that hyphens slow down reading. That could be a good thing,
given how most people don't read carefully, but I'd rather not add to the
aggravation factor. Also, if you listen to the way people SAY online, there's
no little pause that indicates (to me anyway) that there's a verbal hyphen --
other words, it's spoken as though it's one word. Any other opinions?

Bonni Graham
Easel Corporation, ENFIN Technology Lab
Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- relay -dot- proteon -dot- com
President, SDSTC

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