Last week I published my monthly e-newsletter Better Writing at Work and sent it to more than 11,000 subscribers. One of them, proofreader and copyeditor Geoff Pope, found an error in the title of the newsletter and lead article. Can you find it?
"Hot Button Language to Avoid—and Words You Must Include"
Title: "Hot Button Language to Avoid—and Words You Must Include"
Did you find the error?
Do you like your button language hot?
The title needs a hyphen between the words hot and button!
Here is an explanation: I was not writing about "hot language" or "button language." I meant hot-button language. I needed the hyphen to connect the two parts of the compound word.
I know the rule, of course. I just overlooked the phrase.
Sometimes when people write to me, they admit they are nervous about communicating with a business writing expert. They don't want to make an error with me as their reader.
I tell them to relax and imagine how I feel when I make an error in a message to more than 11,000 readers–and in the title, no less.
Geoff, thanks for the correction, which you delivered with humor and style. I won't make that mistake again!