I’ve been thinking about the word “provincial” lately. It has negative connotations: a rube, someone of narrow scope and mind. At its best, “provincial” feels like a quainter, more polite way to describe an unsophisticated rustic than “bumpkin” (or “unsophisticated rustic,” for that matter).
I love my corner of the Mission in San Francisco. Particularly when I’m working from home, I can go for days at a time without leaving a ten-block radius. There’s coffee, sandwiches, a good bar, yoga, a park, and a well-stocked corner store—the owner of which makes remarkably good baba ganoush—not to mention cafés and restaurants all within easy reach.
Isn’t the option to exist provincially, to live locally without navigating massive expanses in a car on a daily basis, one of the great boons of the city?
There are two kinds of people in the world: people who learn about the hyphenated compound adjective, shrug their shoulders, and move on with their lives, and people who learn about the hyphenated compound adjective and proceed to insert hyphens everywhere. Everything is better with a hyphen!
I love this doggy daycare—it’s constantly surrounded by adorable dogs thrilled to be reunited with their owners after
years hours. Also, this place has its grammatical ducks in a row: “self-serve” is a compound adjective modifying “grooming.” “Self” changes the meaning of “serve”; the words create a new, compounded adjective. The hyphen makes explicit the fact that they are working together. Without any punctuation, one could read this phrase all kinds of wrong: “Self, serve grooming!”
Yup, that is my green kombucha smoothie thing. I was ill enough to spend $7 on such a beverage but not ill enough to be OK with the gratuitous hyphen. The flu makes you feverish, not crazy, people.
Here, “annually” is an adverb modifying “renewable,” which is an adjective modifying “resources.” We don’t need a hyphen to clarify the phrase “annually renewable.” That’s what the -ly is for.
Yes, some adverb-adjective pairings require hyphens: are you a well-meaning person or a well, meaning person? Only the punctuation can decide. Contrary to hyphen-hater belief, compound adjectives make communicating easier. Save valuable interpretive milliseconds! Contrary to the practice of hyphen zealots, gratuitous hyphens are distracting. Case in point: I spent thirty minutes writing this post when I could have been out spending another $7 on kale kombucha. Think of the smoothies.