Monday, May 19, 2008
Yahoo appears to be describing a pornography law as "anti-child." What the headline writer meant, of course, was "anti-child-pornography law." Be against hyphens if you like (I say "child-pornography law," you say "child pornography law"; potayto, potahto), but once you deign to use one, you have to agree to the terms of service. Hyphens join, and you need two hyphens to join three groups of letters. You can get away with health-care systems analyst as opposed to health-care-systems analyst (yes, it's an analyst of health-care systems, but it's also a systems analyst in the field of health care), but the law in question is against child pornography, not against children.
I'm not a big fan of the en dash, by the way, but in more bookish prose you could theoretically get away with antichild pornography law.
Posted by Bill at 11:14 AM