A plea to grammatically challenged editors – take time out to study what a hyphen can do

October 21, 2012

Don’t worry, kid…you can always become a journalist when you grow up.


The Grumbles are musing on mounting a campaign to bring back the compound adjective.

It will be aimed at everybody in general but the news media in particular.

Especially it will be aimed at grammatically challenged editors who ultimately are responsible for the quality of their product.

If the tossers grasped the importance of the hyphen and how to use it, their readers’ grasp of what they are reading would be considerably enhanced.

A splendid example of how the absence of the hyphen can cause confusion is thrown up today.

A headline (here) says –

Suspicious fire at quake damaged property

So…what are we being told here, exactly?

That the property was damaged by a suspicious fire?

Or there has been a suspicious fire at a property that had been damaged in an earthquake?

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