Archive | January, 2009

MS Word Tip: How to Replace Hyphens with En Dashes

Though most people don’t know (or care when told), the correct character to use for a range of numbers is the en dash (–), not the hyphen (-). Even if you’re committed to using en dashes between digits, hyphens are a tad easier to type,1 making a find and replace necessary at some point. If you’re diligent and use the en dash faithfully, you will undoubtedly get a rogue hyphen in there somewhere if you do any copying and pasting from the internet or other documents that don’t consistently use the correct character.

A simple find and replace (- for –) would do the trick—if you wanted to replace all hyphens with en dashes. But you don’t want to do this, since hyphens in hyphenated words are correct. :) Alternatively, you could run that query but, instead of replacing them all at once, replace one at a time only the ones that appear between digits. But this could be time consuming on a large document like a dissertation. Another option would be to set up a query to find 0-0 and replace it with 0–0, then 0-1 with 0–1 and so forth, but that would require 100 different searches and probably take longer than the previous method! The previous method could probably be simplified by dropping the second digit since there aren’t likely to be any instances when you’d have a digit followed by a hyphen not followed by another digit. That would make only 10 find-and-replace queries. So this is as least doable, though still not ideal.

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  1. To type an en dash in Word, you can either use the default key combination Ctrl + – (the one on the keypad) or create your own shortcut. My shortcut is Ctrl + – (the one on the main part of the keyboard).
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Most and Least Religious States

A new Gallup Poll evaluates states according to their religiousness.

Want to be almost certain you’ll have religious neighbors? Move to Mississippi. Prefer to be in the least religious state? Venture to Vermont.

A new Gallup Poll, based on more than 350,000 interviews, finds that the Magnolia State is the one where the most people — 85% — say yes when asked “Is religion an important part of your daily life?”

Less than half of Vermonters, meanwhile — 42% — answered that same question in the affirmative.

. . .

Overall, Gallup researchers found that 65% of all Americans said religion was important in their daily lives.

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An Emoticon in a Lincoln Speech from 1862? ;)

A blog post at the City Room Blog at has received some attention this week. In “Is That an Emoticon in 1862?” the author explores whether a ;) in a transcript of a Lincoln speech is an emoticon or a typo. Some are convinced that this is the earliest example of an emoticon. Most seem to think it’s simply a typo in the form of accidental transposition (e.g., see the comments here and here).

Here’s an image of the text under discussion:

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What Is Plagiarism?

I stumbled across a helpful article on plagiarism that I thought I’d share in light of my previous post highlighting an egregious example of plagiarism. It’s written by the folks at Desiring God. I commend it to you.

The only issue I have with the article is that it is potentially misleading on what it means to paraphrase. Here’s the second of three items they list that entail plagiarism:

Paraphrasing another’s words without acknowledging the author whose words you are restating. In other words, if you do not quote the person verbatim but instead just change a few words and do not give credit, you have committed plagiarism.

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A Case of Major Plagiarism

The weekend before Christmas I was doing some reading and research on the Trinity (which is what I spend most of my weekends doing), and I stumbled across something in a journal article that sounded very much like something I had read in a systematic theology book. So I opened the book to compare, and sure enough it was verbatim (the only difference being a single word missing the italics from the original source).

So I turned back to the article expecting to see that the author was quoting a large portion from the theology book and that I was simply reading somewhere in the middle of the quote, but I saw no quotation marks and no mention of the author’s work. Perplexed I started comparing further, wondering if perhaps this was just a very long extended quotation. To my shock I discovered the the author of the journal article had reproduced without quotation marks nearly verbatim (somewhere between 95% and 99% identical content) the entirety of his 24-page article from the other individual’s theology book—almost a complete copy and paste with just a handful of very minor cosmetic changes. The only credit he gave to the author of the content was a mention in his first footnote where he listed a few sources on the doctrine of the Trinity. At the end of the footnote, he mentioned his particular indebtedness to the author whose content he plagiarized. (Most readers have no idea how indebted he really was!)

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Theo-Logic by Hans Urs von Balthasar for $27

Ignatius Press is having a nice sale on a number of volumes. I just picked up Hans Urs von Balthasar’s three-volume Theo-Logic: Theological Logical Theory in hardback for just $27. That’s just a tad more than the cost of one of the volumes at Amazon.

Here are the three volumes in the set:

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