Before we begin, please go on over to CaliforniaTeacherGuy‘s place and send him a little love. His dad died yesterday, and I’m certain he’d appreciate your prayers and expressions of support. Go on – I’ll wait…….
You’re back? Okay – so, onward to Grammar Wednesday, the Mea Culpa Edition.
CTG wrote me a note about my last Grammar Wednesday post:
My dear Mrs. Chili,
Here’s a grammar grappler from your very own blog:
Look, I’ve got a lot of real life friends and Blogging Buddies who teach in public schools, and I want you all to know that I don’t hold any of you personally responsible, but I want to know this: how is it that a 20 year old makes it to college without knowing how to make plural possessives?!
According to my copy editor’s eye, I believe some much-needed hyphens are missing. Shouldn’t 20 year old be written 20-year-old?
Don’t hit me, please!
He sent me this note at just about the same time I threw my back out, and I didn’t get back to him right away, causing him to worry that he’d offended me. Far from being offended, I actually LIKE having my mistakes pointed out to me; it’s how I learn. Call me out on my shit, my friends!
CaliforniaTeacherGuy is absolutely correct; I DO need hyphens in the adjective phrase that describes my students. I found this at Washington State University’s website:
Hyphenate ages when they are adjective phrases involving a unit of measurement: “Her ten-year-old car is beginning to give her trouble.” A girl can be a “ten-year-old” (“child” is implied). But there are no hyphens in such an adjectival phrase as “Her car is ten years old.” In fact, hyphens are generally omitted when such phrases follow the noun they modify except in phrases involving “all” or “self” such as “all-knowing” or “self-confident.” Fractions are almost always hyphenated when they are adjectives: “He is one-quarter Irish and three-quarters Nigerian.” But when the numerator is already hyphenated, the fraction itself is not, as in “ninety-nine and forty-four one hundredths.” Fractions treated as nouns are not hyphenated: “He ate one quarter of the turkey.”
So, thanks, CTG, for pointing this out to me. I’ve fixed it in last week’s entry, and will strive to be more careful with my hyphens in the future.