Submitted by pje on February 19, 2011

to-day, to-night

I have seen to-day and to-night used in literature up to the 1920′s. When and why did this become obsolete?

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"Are you lonesome tonight?" was written in 1926, but Elvis Presley called it "Are you lonesome to-night?" in 1960.

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My guess is that sometime in the 20s-30s the hyphen was viewed more and more as a cumbersome and superfluous fillip and thus dispensed with.

We're seeing a similar to-and-fro with "e-mail" and "email" (I use the latter myself).

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The OED has the spelling "to-day" up to 1912. But it was also spelled without the hyphen as early as the 1700s.

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The 1920's?

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