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U-Boats and #Proofreading – when you are proof reading how should you write proof-reading?

How you write “proof reading” can tell you about your writing style.

Do you write proofreading as one word – or do you write proof reading as two  separate words?

Or when you write proof-reading – do you use a hyphen that combines the words in  “separate chunks” – a combination  that’s easy to read at speed?


And what does proof-reading have to do with U-boats? Or should that be Uboats or U Boats?

I’m definitely a hyphen-user ( “The Hypen-ator” – said in an “Arnie” voice) – even though the other two forms are acceptable!

My reasoning is that the hyphen makes it easier for a reader to read at speed. Modern readers often skim and scan – especially on-line and on their mobile devices.

The old-school style is to not join the words together.

The modern style is to combine the words as one word.

The even more modern style especially for on-line writing is to use hyphens.

So, how to you write it  and what does it say about your style?

Proof reader – old-school, traditional

proofreader – more modern

proof-reader – even more modern for easier reading, a possibly “anal” and over-cautious writer. Probably built model planes as a kid! (see below)

On-line is another one of those terms you can write as:

on line


or on-line

I find the combined words can be harder to read. Maybe I have a reading problem and there is no need to use hypens! I try to make it as easy as possible for my readers.

Some people find “hypenators” (as I am) to be  over-cautious and even…anal!

I even hyphenate the word: e-mail rather than email

I blame it on my youth. As a boy interested in model planes and other war machinery – I would always write:


U-2  –  the spy plane


So what? What can you take out of this?

If you’ve ever wondered how to write proof-reading – you realise you have options.

I argue that using a hyphen makes it easier to read and understand words when you read at speed.

Even Hypen-ator is easier to read because you can see the “root” word at a glance.

Here’s a link to a UK site that pondered the same question – how do you write proof-reader?

As the link points out –  the trend is for words to start out as separate words and over time they become joined words.

I’ll take it one step further and argue that the ultra-modern style is to use hypenation to help people read at speed.

The hyphens separate and yet join the words – and avoid confusing combinations and clusters of vowels or consonants.

Style guides will often advise you to use hyphens to make it easier to read words such as antiinflammatory

or anti-inflammatory. See how separating the vowels makes it easier to read?

The link is probably by another word nerd who loved building models of U-Boats and model planes.

Now, do we capitalise the word following the hyphen – boat or Boat?…

and here’s a link to a warning about the dangers how a quick “skim” can’t catch mistakes.


TB Roulettes

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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.

I’ve disciplined my self to check ALL my different communication platforms twice a day – as part of my Check-in Ritual.


tony biancotti


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One comment on “U-Boats and #Proofreading – when you are proof reading how should you write proof-reading?

  1. efangelist
    June 12, 2015

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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