Monday, August 18, 2014

Anti-grammatical error speech

Anti-grammatical error speech

I’ve occasionally read of an “anti-sex harassment force”. But is that a force that’s against sex harassment, or is it a harassment force that’s against sex?
There’s a similar grammatical question about an “anti-voter fraud group”. Is it a group that’s against voter fraud, or is it a fraud group that’s against voters?
I call this “anti-grammatical error speech”; for is it speech that’s against grammatical errors, or is it error speech that’s against grammar?
It comes down to hyphen placement; “anti-sex-harassment force” and “anti-voter-fraud group” versus “anti-sex harassment-force” and “anti-voter fraud-group”. But hyphens are silent.

For a related topic, consult my June 10, 2014 blog about “ambiguous adjective use”, such as “fast car repair’; for which is fast, the car or the repair? And which is ambiguous, the adjective or the use?

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