When a word is hyphenated across lines of text, the break traditionally comes at a syllable boundary. Most dictionaries indicate these breaks with a symbol, usually a boldface, centered bullet (•). This symbol indicates potential break points: some dictionaries show all syllable breaks; others show only those allowed by conventional style standards. (For example, most style guides dictate that a single letter cannot be stranded.)
Like many other slightly archaic bits of grammar, the subjunctive mood causes undue consternation. Usage commentators have been decrying the misuse of the subjunctive and mourning its imminent loss for nearly three centuries. Many have predicted that it would vanish within another generation or so, yet it soldiers on.
Slate, long one of the best online magazines, recently staked its claim as a go-to site for language news and analysis with the blog Lexicon Valley. The word-focused blog features some of the most respected and readable word experts around, such as Mark Liberman, James Harbeck, and Ben Zimmer. It’s become a top online destination for word mavens.
In today’s News Roundup, I answer some practical usage questions in an ACES chat, Copyediting contributor Jonathon Owen considers what makes a word a word, and past Copyediting instructor Constance Hale talks about phrasal verbs.
It was a loss for the book authors who sued, but a victory for free use of information. A ruling in Google’s favor in a complicated lawsuit over its digitization of millions of books may be more of a boon to authors than a royalty check would have been had they won.