Working on the assumption that you are using, at least, Word 97...
Have you tried going to the Help menu and selecting 'Detect and Repair'? That would be my first port of call as that function double checks all MS Office applications while it's at it.
To your last comment about hyphens. If a word is hyphenated, with no spaces, you do get a symbol technically referred to as an 'n dash' (because it takes up the length of the letter 'n'). If, however, you have a space either side of the hyphen and then complete the second word - again followed by a space, the 'hyphen' turns into an alternative punctuation called an 'm dash' (guess why!).
These symbols are partially historical from the days when typesetters used to do it all by hand and authors knew how to punctuate in a more pedantic way. These days, I presume MS have kept it for the pedants like me who write betterer what like it ought to be did for 'proper' purposes (i.e. earning a bit of extra money).