On Hyphen Usage: Grammarant for March 9, 2013

I haven’t grammaranted in quite awhile, but the issue of hyphen usage has become an aggravation for me. Someone tell me I’m wrong, or help me educate the masses.

Hyphen Usage

Image from chicagoweathercenter.com

I strongly contest the hyphen usage in the above example. When merely stating “The temperature is 40 degrees”, there should be no hyphen. It should be used to say “There will be a 40-degree drop in temperature.” or “Expect temperatures in the 40-degree range.”

The same news site seems to struggle with the difference between a 50-foot hole, and a hole that is 50 feet deep, choosing to place a hyphen between ’50’ and ‘deep.’ And I’m unable to track down an example, but I’ve noticed many “30-years-old” mistakes (not from WGN) around the interwebs as well. Someone who is 30 years old has earned no hyphens. However, a 30-year-old man, woman, or tree deserves 2.

Something tells me editing internet postings doesn’t get priorities the printed word once received. Perhaps there are simply too many of us writing here than can be policed.

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