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Let us consider the role of the hyphen. The all-important hyphen—which we use use on a daily basis.

The no. of hyphens that we see everyday may well surprise you. They are ever-present, don't you think?

They are not merely semi-useful.

They can be used to bring together two seemingly-unrelated words together. And they are often mis-used.

They also can be used in mathematics as a minus-type symbol!

Very versatile. Quite helpful, when you think about it. Don't let your pre-disposition of other punctuation marks get the better of you!

Didn't Dr. Phil once say that the use (and mis-use) of hyphens have a profound effect on the human psyche?

He did—it's true!

Look it up. I dare you.

Different than hyphens are two types of 'dashes' used in properly formatted English: the Em dash (—)—and the En dash(–)!

The En dash (–) is used to show a relationship between two things or a range between two things.

The Em dash is different. It separates out words or phrases where we would normally use a comma or a parenthetical expression.

The hyphen, though, is used to join two words together like a compound word that truly isn't a compound word. For example, you can't write the word pickmeup or motherinlaw, you have to use a hyphen between each of the individual words. Hyphens are also used to separate long words that need to wrap from one line of type to another, broken at one of the syllables.

Here are some examples. I hope you like them.

,

I found one connecting three words. Check it out: .

How about ?

That was a good one. I'm thinking that whoever wrote this piece of crap puzzle should be bitch-slapped at this point.

Maybe ?

Um. ?

I'm starting to get light-headed just writing this stupid question.

Done—and DONE!

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    $\begingroup$ Unrelated to the puzzle, the hyphen-as-a-separator-style is referred to as kebab case, as the words look like they're on a stick. $\endgroup$ – Flater Feb 15 '18 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ Does it have anything to do with the eating perhaps, of shoots? Or even leaves, I ask myself. $\endgroup$ – MikeRoger Feb 15 '18 at 14:27
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    $\begingroup$ three hypens in formation-of-numbers? $\endgroup$ – Thomas Weller Feb 17 '18 at 10:08
  • $\begingroup$ @ThomasWeller Right, I meant (and have edited it to) "connecting three words." $\endgroup$ – Chowzen Feb 17 '18 at 11:55
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The hidden message is

PUNCTUATION IS IMPORTANT

which you can get by

taking the hyphens and periods in each paragraph, and interpreting them as Morse code.

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  • $\begingroup$ It could be that this is just a partial answer. Maybe we should look into all other symbols too. $\endgroup$ – Tweakimp Feb 15 '18 at 9:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Willtech: Welcome to Puzzling! It works exactly as described in my answer: for instance, the first paragraph has a period, a hyphen, a longer dash, and another period. That makes dot-dash-dash-dot, which is "P" in Morse Code. The next paragraph gives U (dot-dot-dash), then N (dash-dot), and so on. $\endgroup$ – Deusovi Feb 16 '18 at 11:09
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    $\begingroup$ I thought it was going to be binary ... >.< $\endgroup$ – Will Crawford Feb 16 '18 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ I went ahead and automated Deusovi's solution a little bit by creating a regex. regex101.com/r/4sfW0B/1 $\endgroup$ – user2965941 Feb 16 '18 at 14:30
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    $\begingroup$ Ahh, not empty blockquotes, actual spoilers! $\endgroup$ – Willtech Feb 16 '18 at 20:24

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