Those who know me well are well aware that there are certain American-based English words that drive me absolutely nuts. ‘Cookies’ is one of them; ‘trash’ another. Don’t get me started.
Added to this list over the past few years has been ‘underscore,’ which, as far as I can tell, originated through computer naming protocols: eg bill_gates.doc. I have always thought it should be ‘underline’ using Aussie English, not ‘underscore.’
But here’s the thing: I’ve been doing a bit of research (ie Googling) and some of the forums indicate that to underline is to place lines under text whereas an underscore joins_the_gap_between_words (and therefore alters the wrap-around of text, as demonstrated). To make matters worse, apparently they’re interchangeable too (no!).
Now I’m confused about just how indignant I should be at this Gatesian imposition on our English English, because there is sort of a difference.
What_to_do? What to do?
What a to-do.
Ooh, let’s talk about hyphenated words too. Actually, let’s not.