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08 February 2006 @ 09:15 am
Non-breaking hyphens  
I just had a response from a critiquer which indicated that all of the non-breaking hyphens in the MS Word file that I sent her vanished somewhere along the line. Which means that a sentence like "I didn't know -- couldn't have known -- that the still-smoking gun was in my hand" would turn into the nonsensical "I didn't know couldn't have known that the stillsmoking gun was in my hand".

I search and replace all my hyphens to non-breaking hyphens when I prepare a manuscript for submission, so that hyphenated words and em-dashes don't break across lines. This is appropriate for paper submissions. But this isn't the first time those non-breaking hyphens have failed to appear in an electronic submission. I think I'm going to stop doing that.
(Deleted comment)
David D. Levinedavidlevine on February 8th, 2006 01:59 pm (UTC)
Further proof, if any were needed, that I am a Toon.
Deldel_c on February 8th, 2006 10:32 am (UTC)
I can't help with the "still-smoking", but why don't you use em-dashes—actual ones—for your em-dash needs? Is it a manuscript submission "required style" issue?
David D. Levinedavidlevine on February 8th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC)
Yep. Standard manuscript format uses two hyphens for an em-dash.

Manuscripts are submitted in Courier, where the em-dash character is only a couple pixels longer than a hyphen, and are intended for reading from hardcopy by human typesetters. Using em-dash characters is verboten (as are curly quotes and the ellipsis character). This may be a relic of the past, but it's still standard operating procedure for most publishers.
Luke McGuffholyoutlaw on February 8th, 2006 11:17 am (UTC)
Does it happen when manuscripts go cross platform?
David D. Levinedavidlevine on February 8th, 2006 02:03 pm (UTC)
In this case yes, although I've also seen it happen when importing Word files into other applications on the Windows platform.
Steveakicif on February 9th, 2006 08:38 am (UTC)
It's a horrid one, that - and depressingly common. You can use demoroniser on your documents and it will replace Microsoft's ideas of which characters are which with the correct ones, or there's a javascript gadget that a chap I worked with once came up with for doing more or less the same job (it doesn't use any back-end stuff, so you can save it to your desktop)....
David D. Levinedavidlevine on February 9th, 2006 09:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestions, but I'm talking about binary .doc files here, not HTML.
Steveakicif on February 9th, 2006 10:34 am (UTC)
There's a version of demoroniser that gets rid of the non-standard characters in Office documents, too, and the character cleaner can be used to cut text from Word and then paste it back in (you need to have Word's autocorrect functions switched off, though).
Steveakicif on February 9th, 2006 10:46 am (UTC)
Aargh - I'm sorry. It's not demoroniser at all, but something similar that works on Office documents, and I'm blanking on the name.