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Pass the Skin

As I look out my office window at the silent majesty of a winter’s morn; the clean, cool chill of the holiday air; I’m reminded that I’ve been meaning to say something about the hyphen.

Ever hear of a compound modifier? It’s a situation in which two words work together to describe one noun. Like “brown-eyed girl,” for instance. Or “high-jumping grasshopper.”

Both “brown-eyed” and “high-jumping” are compound modifiers; the hyphen is employed to clarify the meaning of the phrase. Because without it, the second example—”high jumping grasshopper”—could very well indicate a jumping grasshopper after one too many bong hits.

Just yesterday, I saw a Wendy’s billboard on Division advertising something called “skin on fries.” Given that the folks at Wendy’s are surely smart enough to know the compound modifier/hyphen rule, it can only mean that the fast-food chain, in an apparent homage to The Silence of the Lambs, has come up with an entirely new way to season your fries.

01.03.2011, 12:06pm
by A-Dub

Ahhh. Leave it to Aaron to give a grammar lesson for the new year. I love it!

Now, teach me about commas.

01.04.2011, 3:16pm
by Aaron Bragg

It was your WOD that inspired me in the first place…

As for commas, just type “comma” into the search field (top right). You’ll be sorry you asked.



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