Thursday, May 29, 2008

Can I create a law against forgetting necessary hyphens?


What is it with people forgetting the existence of hyphens lately? This seriously drives me batty. Judging by the context of the story highlights, this headline should be written as follows: "Law to make tongue-kissing minors a sex offense."

However, just looking at the headline alone, out of context, you'd really have to carefully consider the hyphen placement: did the writer mean that tongue-kissing (verb) minors is a sex offense, that tongue-kissing minors (noun, plural) are sex offenders somehow, or that there is an actual law to prevent some crazy, giant tongue from kissing minors?

Punctu-freakin'-ation, people. Use it (properly, please). It promotes clarity in writing and keeps snarky Grammarphiles from having as much about which they can complain.

6 comments:

Rhea said...

I am guilty of this offense, but I'm trying to get better about it. I get lazy and choose to leave them out. Especially when writing something about my six-year-old. People often leave those hyphens out when talking about how old people are. :o)

sitboaf said...

Maybe we should adopt the German method and cram all these compound words and modifiers together into big uberwords.
HEADLINE:
Liquidwastegathering burgeoning new industry for tonguekissingminors and twentyfirstcenturyjobseekers.
Ship it!

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Rhea, you're forgiven for your hyphen-related offenses. If you're busy minding your six-year-old child, that's an endeavor that takes far more skills and smarts than consistently practicing proper hyphen usage. :)

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Sitboaf, you crack me up. Great idea; I love it!

rachel said...

haha, I love it. A giant tongue running around, attacking people with kisses.

THE GRAMMARPHILE said...

Haha, Rachel...cute comment. :) (I'm going to try to stay away from that giant tongue unless it's attached to someone really, really hot, though...hehe!)