Friday, October 20, 2006

Hyphens and Familial Pride

I just came across a reference to somebody's great, great grandson.

Further research showed that it was, in fact, a great-great-grandson who may or may not have been extremely wonderful.

In another comma-vs.-hyphen incident, I changed a headline from Controversial Ad Links MLK-GOP to Controversial Ad Links MLK, GOP, only to see something about an MLK, GOP Link in the Web hed on the same story. There's where the hyphen belonged.

To review, a comma can stand for "and" in a headline. The hyphen (or en dash, for publications that use the en dash) is the convention for a "between" link in an adjectival construction. Ali, Frazier Fight? They did indeed if you mean "fight" as a verb, but that fight (n.) was the Ali-Frazier Fight. (And so were the other two, though I suppose the first one was more properly the Frazier-Ali fight.)


DV said...

I think the third fight was called the "Thrilla in Manila." Would you refer to the first fight as "Ali-Frazier I"?

Bill said...

Right, once you have a series you'd stick with an order -- Ali-Frazier I, II, III. The first of many Fights of the Century, then the rematch notable mainly for that great "Wide World of Sports" intro sequence, and then the pre-christened Thrilla that managed to live up to its name. (I still think the first fight was the most thrilling.)

??.A.D. said...

Don't shoot me, but in Frasier–Ali, you actually need an en-dash. The hyphen only is used for words like en-dash, and with "pain-in-the-ass comments on your blog." In OSX, for those who don't know, press and hold your option key while punching the hyphen key, and you get the en-dash. In Windows, it's somewhere in that character set thingy. Sorry. Out.

??.A.D. said...

Doh! Blogger didn't recognize the en-dash HTML tag. Well, you get what I mean.