Don Ranly opens the proverbial can of worms with this discussion of hyphens
So now we are voting on how to punctuate correctly. Well, why not? This is, after all, a democracy.
A startling headline appeared on the front page of the Columbia Missourian a few weeks back. It said, “License plates now hyphenless.” (I don’t find “hyphenless” in my Webster’s Third, but I do find “hyphenize.” Yikes!) The deck to the head read, “Voters chose ‘Show Me’ design.” Indeed, under a picture of the new license plate, the caption said 145,121 voters chose the design that had “SHOW ME STATE” without a hyphen.
Clearly, the people running the contest had no choice but to pick the license the voters had chosen, the one that had no hyphen. Two questions: Who were the morons who left the hyphen out in the first place (deliberately? mistakenly?), and how many of the 145,121 people who voted noticed the missing hyphen?
The Missouri Department of Revenue said it would not correct the error, even after The Joplin Globe quoted a Missouri Southern State University English professor as saying “the rules of grammar require the hyphen.”