Hyphens are used to join words and separate syllables within a single word.
For National Punctuation Day, The New Yorker went off on a hyphen riff:
This slippery character cuts both ways: it can connect words or divide them. I found a questionable new use of it recently. I was shopping for a fish-oil supplement, and hoping to find something that was not strong-smelling. I bought a jar of fish-oil capsules that the label said were “odorless,” but when I opened the jar at home, something smelled fishy. A closer look revealed that “odorless,” although printed on one line, was accessorized with a hyphen, thus: “ODOR-LESS.” I interpret this to mean that while still bearing an odor (we’re talking fish oil, after all), this brand’s “odor” was “less” than others’. That hyphen put the punk in punctuation.
And the PUN, am I right, The New Yorker? Ka-ZAM
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