In the years I've been writing this column, I've heard from a lot of people with vivid memories about grammar lessons they got in school. Some recall teachers who had strong opinions on "whom." Others had teachers who told them not to end sentences with prepositions.
Still others recall moments when they learned about semicolons or the passive voice, or why the serial comma is mandatory or why the serial comma should be wiped from the face of the Earth. It seems that for every grammar and punctuation rule under the sun, someone has a story about a former teacher hammering home the importance of getting it right.
Well, almost every rule.
In all my years of chatting with others about grammar, punctuation, usage and writing, no one has ever recalled to me a time in school when they learned about hyphens.
I'm not sure why that is. Maybe hyphens just aren't a priority. That's a distinct possibility. But here's another: Maybe no one teaches about hyphens because no one knows them well enough to teach them.