Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Hyphens can make a big difference.
Consider the ad at right that I saw in a recent issue of The New Yorker.
Glancing at it, I wasn't sure what to make of it, though working through the possible meanings made me laugh:
BIG ass fans? (Note the donkey pictured)
Big ASS fans?
Big ass FANS?
Big fans of asses?
Fans of big asses?
Adding a hyphen would have made the message--and the registered company name--much clearer: Big-Ass Fans. That is, very big fans.
So don't be an ass; add a hyphen when needed.