Longforgotten email? Uncalledfor behaviour? Nothing a hyphen ...

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A WORD IN THE HAND: HYPHEN

Longforgotten email? Uncalledfor behaviour? Nothing a hyphen can’t fix

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Deputy features editor: Sunday Times

“I’m going to go through this with a fine-toothed comb,” my supervisor e-mailed me about my long-overdue philosophy thesis.

“Great,” I replied, at the same time feeling somewhat floored at the expanse of self-ignorance his words revealed to me. 

Never having seen the phrase in print before (or maybe I had but just didn’t absorb it), I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have always thought the idiom for examining something closely was looking over it with “a fine toothcomb” – as in a particularly excellent device for getting tiny particles off one’s teeth...

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