I have been hearing complaints/suggestions that I turn off hyphenation on AVC.

This twitter conversation is an example:

I am curious to hear more from readers on this topic.

  1. do you notice the hyphenation?
  2. do you think it is off putting?
  3. would you encourage me to remove it?

To be honest, I can’t figure out how to find the CSS code in my WordPress setup to do this, but if I get a resounding “please turn it off” I will do the work to find the code and remove it.


Comments (Archived):

  1. obarthelemy

    I’ll chime in with an energetic “don’t care”.Always glad to help ;-p

    1. fredwilson

      Ha. That’s been my mantra too

  2. William Mougayar

    I never noticed & it doesn’t bother me.

    1. Shalabh

      Same. But I can see how it can be an issue on may be a smaller screen size.

      1. William Mougayar

        But I read AVC on mobile 80% of the time. I think my smartphone removes the hyphenation automatically. Look at this example that was in the tweet and above. It’s a screen shot of what I see, and it’s not hyphenated. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

        1. Shalabh

          I agree, I read on my mobile too (iOS) and haven’t experienced that yet 🙂

  3. WA

    So much else to go OCD about. Agree with William.

  4. Josh Jackson

    I don’t think it matters. To turn it off “what is it for?” Does it create value in your work to turn it off?

  5. Alex Murphy

    A solid – “I don’t care” here. But, I was curious why it happens. WP apparently has it as the default, who knew? You can remove it by adding to you CSS.Here is one person’s solution.https://en.forums.wordpress

  6. The Ranger

    This really is not an issue for me, never noticed it and it does not bother me.

  7. kenberger

    So that’s how one gets Fred to promote them: complain about him in public.And the following song’s title sums up the appropriate response well:”Who gives a f about an Oxford comma!”https://youtu.be/P_i1xk07o4g

    1. Lee Dale

      I feel sorry for Ezra. Those lyrics are depressing and he should care more about the language with which he crafts his livelihood. 😛

  8. Nick Hencher

    Never noticed

  9. jason wright

    is this the kind of thing that helps to make successful people successful, thinking about such minutiae? if it is then i’m all for it. if it isn’t then i’d rather you blog about something else.

    1. WA

      “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all…” Drucker

    2. Susan Rubinsky

      However, if he wrote it and the majority of us came back and mentioned we have the same problem and it’s annoying, he’d do something about it. So there’s nothing wrong in throwing out the question.

      1. jason wright

        if it were really that annoying (majority) the point would be expressed and right here, the place where the problem occurs, maybe 🙂

        1. Susan Rubinsky

          True enough. But I think there are also a lot of people who come here and observe who never say anything.

  10. leozeba

    I did notice in my Macbook Pro, but doesn’t bother me. If you want to remove, just look for the following piece of code in your CSS and remove all the hyphens entries. As it is inside a media query, it just show up for some devices.@media screen and (min-width: 726px)style.css?ver=1396376028:1.content p, .content li { text-align: justify; -webkit-hyphens: auto; -moz-hyphens: auto; -ms-hyphens: auto; hyphens: auto; -ms-hyphenate-limit-lines: 1; -webkit-hyphenate-limit-lines: 1; hyphenate-limit-lines: 1;}https://uploads.disquscdn.c…

    1. fredwilson

      Can’t seem to find this code. I may need to call in some WP experts

      1. Blake Perdue

        @fredwilson:disqus see my recent comment. You don’t have to find the code you just have to override it with my snippet above.

        1. fredwilson


      2. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Appearance -> Editor -> style.css :)“`/* Remove automatic hyphenation */.site-content article { word-wrap: normal; -webkit-hyphens: none; -moz-hyphens: none; hyphens: none; }.widget-area .widget { word-wrap: normal; -webkit-hyphens: none; -moz-hyphens: none; hyphens: none; }“`

        1. fredwilson

          thanks Kirsten

  11. Susan Rubinsky

    I read this blog off a Droid and have never noticed the hyphenation issue. Perhaps it’s device-specific.

    1. William Mougayar

      yup. i’m pretty sure the device is a factor. i can see hyphenation on my mac, but not on the Xiaomi.

  12. JimHirshfield

    At first I thought this post was about hypertension; a worthy topic.Then I thought it was about some new app called hyphenation.Now I see this post is about nothing.Have a low pressure day, y’all.

    1. William Mougayar

      the Seinfeld post

      1. JimHirshfield

        Surely you meant…The Sein-feld post

      2. Richard

        Whooo are these hyphens ? Or a Larry David “you woke me up to blog about hyphens?? are you fucking nuts?”

    2. Girish Mehta

      Re : “Now I see this post is about nothing”This post is about Peak Zen Detachment. How to not care about the things that you did not notice. And to also not care that you did not notice.

      1. JimHirshfield

        I didn’t care until I noticed your comment

        1. Girish Mehta

          I was really hoping that noticing the comment would make you not care.

      2. fredwilson


    3. Matt A. Myers


  13. sonicgleek

    Complainers: get a life. Fred: slow-day?

    1. fredwilson

      Easter with my parents. So yes

  14. awaldstein

    Glad to report that I am unaware of this.

  15. Kevin Hill

    1. No2. No3. YesI’d say in a perfect world turn it off. It is a bit odd if I think about it, but I’ve never really noticed it or care that deeply

  16. Matt Zagaja

    Also never noticed, but glad to know Fred listens to the fans.

  17. Elia Freedman

    For the record they don’t show up in the RSS feed. I usually read the post there then flip over here to read comments. I’ve never noticed the issue before.

  18. William Mougayar

    When I first read the title, I thought we were going to discuss using or not using hyphens in certain words like:- Start-up or startup – Crypto-currency or cryptocurrency- Re-engineering or reengineering – product-to-market-fit or product to market fitEtc…

  19. pointsnfigures

    I started using that grammar app you recommended a few weeks ago. Using it, I find a lot more words I use become hyphenated. Happy Easter to everyone if you celebrate.

  20. jason wright

    it’s quite funny. a short form micro blog platform is used to critique the grammar of a long form (is there a limit?) blog platform.

  21. Brad Harrison

    Fred it would personally annoy me because it looks sloppy but I thought there was a template setting in WP that fixed it

  22. Tiffany Bloom

    1 yes 2 yes 3 yesYour code is set to journalistic mode — simiply set to left justified instead of whatever the hell it’s called (lol so archaic, I don’t even remember the name of it)

  23. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Never noticed it. But here’s a good tutorial on where to find it and change it if you want:http://www.zaposphere.com/r

  24. Rob Underwood

    I expect the same adherence to punctuation correctness in your blog that I have come to expect and count on in your email and tweets.

    1. fredwilson

      Ha. Illiteracy FTW

  25. Mike Masello

    The “problem” is only on the web (not when reading within email), and may only be certain browsers. It’s a funny little bug, not a big deal, and I would agree with the people saying it depends on level of effort. FWIW here’s a post about the issue which may solve the problem with a quick copy/paste: http://bit.ly/2oDFR6D

    1. fredwilson


  26. Blake Perdue

    I personally don’t like them because it is harder to read. Your mind has to put more effort into completing the words that are broken onto two lines. And to fix this requires just a few lines of code. So, it’s a 2 minute fix that should be very easy to make. Just add this code to any CSS file or add <style> </style> tags around it and add it to any HTML template and this will be fixed.* { -webkit-hyphens: none !important; -moz-hyphens: none !important; -ms-hyphens: none !important; hyphens: none !important; -ms-hyphenate-limit-lines: 0 !important; -webkit-hyphenate-limit-lines: 0 !important; hyphenate-limit-lines: 0 !important;}The “!important” rule tells the browser to give it precedence over the other rules so you don’t have to dig into the code to figure out where to change your styles. Instead, just override your styles with the ones above.

  27. Rob Larson

    I did notice it, but I’d say don’t bother figuring out how to turn it off. Not worth the trouble.

  28. Adam Parish

    Information over form everyday. However, retro use of text is cool in my estimation. We still read letters from Jefferson, Washington and Adams. They and everyone in their time would capitalize for emphasis.

  29. Robert Holtz

    Answers:1) Yes, I noticed the hyphenation.2) Yes, it IS a little off-putting. I’ve not lost any sleep over it but it is a tiny bit annoying, especially since there are grammar rules for how and where to hyphenate but most automated hyphenation just hyphenates wherever the heck it pleases. The reason those rules exist is so you don’t start rea…ding a word and sto…ping in weird arbitrary places. Suffice it to say that this was never objectionable enough to proactively complain about but, since you asked, then I’d be remiss not to tell you the truth. Frankly, the problem is in CSS which handles hyphenation incorrectly. I wonder if DISQUS might apply some engineering to work around this problem and hyphenate according to real grammar rules. But then again, with automation and modern day “Word Wrap” hyphenation of any kind is sort of obsolete.3) Yes, I would encourage you to remove it. Again, I never would have initiated this topic but I have noticed and I think it would be better if it was fixed. As you speculated, it is not a WordPress setting per se (although perhaps it should be). The issue comes down to how CSS is worked to style your web pages.HOW TO REMOVE HYPHENATION IN WORDPRESS(Please note the intentional redundancy to make sure this solution works for all browser types and devices.)Go to Appearance > Customize > CSS.Add this to the CSS for your blog posts:article .entry-content {-moz-hyphens: none;-ms-hyphens: none;-webkit-hyphens: none;hyphens: none;word-wrap: normal;}Do that and the hyphens will be gone for good.Hope you’re well, Fred, and thanks for everything.

  30. Donna Brewington White

    Reading on my phone (android) there are no hanging hyphens. (I made up that term.)Personally prefer not to see a word broken up but I probably have abandonment issues.

  31. Tal Lev

    As a former Wall St anal-yst (pun intended): the very first hyphen, in “Wal-Mart,” is wrong, according to a note by Walmart itself:> Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is the legal trade name of the corporation. The name ‘Walmart,’ expressed as one word and without punctuation, is a trademark of the company and is used analogously to describe the company and its stores. Use the trade name when it is necessary to identify the legal entity, such as when reporting financial results, litigation or corporate governance.

  32. Ben Dover ✓Verified


  33. davidpitkin

    Turn it off, hyphenation is a paper saving technique that is inappropriate digitally and adds cognitive load. The group that say “I don’t care” just don’t notice. The group that say “keep it” are printing out your blog and want save a few pennies when they print it.

    1. davidpitkin

      A smart friend reminded me that one reason this might feel awkward digitally is there does not also appear to be any justification on the lines in addition to the hyphenation. Two spaces or one after a period type of debate maybe? Also without a fixed column width it becomes dynamic punctuation, which is also annoying

  34. scottythebody

    My vote, if it’s not too late, is that you should “fix” it if it’s not too much hassle. Handling line breaks is important.

  35. VR Vadoothker

    Code looks after the things

  36. VR Vadoothker

    I feel hyphenation is not required

  37. JimHirshfield


  38. LE

    Agree and typically you listen to your customers (and people who read this blog are ‘customers’) or risk alienating or offending them. It doesn’t seem particularly businesslike or scientific to post a question on a Sunday and make a decision based on the small group of people who care to take the time to give their opinion that are even reading on that day.That said:a) It doesn’t bother me and I have somewhat of a background in graphic arts and have done typesetting as well.b) The full scope of the issue hasn’t been defined we don’t know how many people it actually impacts. [1]c) Fixing it definitely depends on how much effort is needed to diagnose the problem and who is going to do the work. For what Fred uses this blog for it very well might not be worth the effort.[1] So this is a bit like politicians making a decision on a topic based on the amount of noise that some particularly vocal constituents raise because they either protest, jam the phone lines or send a bunch of emails. The question is what percentage of your voters really think the same way? Why are you listening only to the vocal minority?

  39. fredwilson

    Is hyphenation punctuation or just a style/formatting issue?

  40. ShanaC

    Pro Oxford comma, but he’s using hyphens correctly. The issue is a webfonts one, and I don’t think you can just turn it off via css

  41. VR Vadoothker

    Words should contain meaning.Really in my theory character contains different meangs by virtue of their position.character chemistry is important. Once word all othermeanings disappear.

  42. fredwilson

    Grammarly is helping with the it’s and its but I thought hyphenation was just a matter of preference and not punctuation per se

  43. Sprugman

    Actually, an n-dash is distinct from a hyphen, and slightly longer in most typefaces. Hyphen vs. n-dash vs. m-dash: – – —Otherwise your post draws the distinction between hyphen and dash nicely.There’s variation between style manuals about the use of n- vs. m-, but typically in the US, in formal typography:”• Em-dash is double the length of en-dash and is used without spacing on either sides unlike in en-dash that requires spacing on both ends.• En-dash is used to denote a range as in numbers whereas em-dash is used to give a pause or as an afterthought in between words in a sentence.”http://www.differencebetwee…(In casual writing you see all kinds of variations, of course.)Personally, I generally think hyphenated line-breaks are better to have than not. Update: however I read pretty much exclusively in RSS on mobile, so perhaps the implementation of the automated hyphenation is poor in CSS.



  45. VR Vadoothker

    Semantico_syntactic integrated code is right candidate

  46. awaldstein

    the thing that grammarly is good for me is with commas. I don’t accept everything but my comma usage is much better.you need to nudge disqus as they are the one that it doesn’t work with. even works within wordpress.

  47. ShanaC

    Words are far more fluid than code. Code doesn’t have semantic meaning.



  49. ShanaC

    Granted, I’m not a robot dinosaur…