The editors at yahoo.com managed to get the hyphen in the right spot in the compound adjective guided-missile. But they couldn’t manage to do it twice:
What to do? What to do? What does one do if one can’t decide if a compound adjective needs a hyphen? Well, if one works at Yahoo! Style, one hyphenates it once, and leaves it unhyphenated once. Problem solved!
That solution is neither appropriate nor correct, just as the use of the word or, instead of nor, with neither is wrong.
There are so many things wrong with this paragraph from Yahoo! Style that if I were writer’s editor, I’d throw it back at her and say, “Try again, honey. It’s not worth my time to try to fix this.”
Is it really that bad? Yes. Yes, it is. An editor could change the pronouns their and they to its and it, since they seem to refer to Milan. And an editor could add the word the before Milanese’s and change that to the plural possessive Milaneses’. But the sentence still wouldn’t make any sense. It’s a straight-up (notice the hyphen?) mess. It’s a throwback (notice it’s one word?) to the days of our youth, before we knew about grammar and spelling and punctuation and sentences with actual verbs.
But that’s not all. The Cure should be The Cure’s and the random capitalization of some of those song titles has me scratching my head and dusting the dandruff off my keyboard. And the noun throwback is still one word.
This little excerpt from Yahoo! Style could use a little oomph. A pick-me-up and some hyphens are in order:
The writer could probably use a little pick-me-up too, or at least a little pick-me-up-and-take-me-to-a-dictionary. There she might learn that umph, when it does appear in a dictionary, is an expression of disgust or skepticism.
This Yahoo! Style writer should get a jump-start on her high school diploma and head over to a dictionary. She might learn that jump-start has a hyphen, workout is one word when it’s a noun and this sentence is altogether different from correct:
Let’s say this all together: If you mean “totally, entirely, completely,” use altogether. Use all together when you mean “together, as a unit or whole.”
Oy. Does my head ache! And I blame it on this headline from Yahoo! Movies:
It led to my throbbing temples. What made the editor think that lead was the past tense of lead? When lead is pronounced led, it’s the stuff that’s in a pencil. The past tense of the verb lead (which is pronounced leed) is led. Which leads me to another source of my pain: That crazy hyphen before Detour. What led the editor to believe that was correct?
Let’s run through this one more time for the folks at Yahoo! Style: If you’re unsure of the spelling of a word, consult a dictionary. If a word looks funny (like, oh, say, maybe throughs), consult a dictionary:
If the writer had done that, she might have seen that run-throughs is a noun requiring a hyphen. Just in case incidents like this happen to arise, editors can cut them out and replace them with the correct word. Editors can also be sure pronouns (like them, not it) match their antecedents (which in this case is incidents).
You might have overlooked the missing hyphen in Lily-Rose Depp’s name in this excerpt from Yahoo! Style:
You might have ignored the misspelling of Métiers d’Arts. But no one could miss 17 years old. It’s just wrong here. It’s OK in “Lily-Rose is 17 years old.” But when used as an adjective, it should be “17-year-old Lily Rose.”