Monday, April 21, 2008

Show Me the Grammar

From the Kansas City Star:

Hyphen missing from new Missouri license plates
By MARCUS KABELThe Associated Press

Missouri will not correct a grammatical error in new license plates because that's how voters want it to be, a state Department of Revenue spokesman said Friday.

The plates featuring a bluebird, the official state bird, are due out in June despite the fact that they're missing the hyphen in the state's nickname, "Show-Me State."
David Griffith, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Revenue, said they won't correct the mistake because that's how it looked when voters chose it in an online contest last year.

"If the people want it that way, that's what we're going to deliver for the people," Griffith said.

The rules of grammar require the hyphen, Missouri Southern State University English professor Dale Simpson said. "If you have a compound modifier before a noun, it would be hyphenated," he said.

About 2 million of the plates have been produced so far, but another 10 million have yet to be made to fulfill demand for the next two years, Griffith said. The department could reorder the remaining majority of plates to include the hyphen but does not plan to do so, he said.


The punchline? Fifty-six percent of the voters surveyed on the site said they didn't care about the hyphen. Oh, sadness!

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