Daily Archives: September 21, 2011

Hyphenated Adjectives


Beyond Surnames


We're all familiar with hyphenated surnames for married women, something that came into vogue during the "Lib" era. But now we're hearing hyphenated adjectives every day. These are sometimes called "compound adjectives" when used correctly, rather than redundantly.




They're expressions like "tiny-little"…"small-little"…"big-big"…"big-huge"…"hot-hot"…"long-long"…"cold-cold"…. Is "tiny-little" tinier than little or littler than tiny? I have no idea. It doesn't help me understand size any better than just one of the two words alone.


There's an obvious redundancy in all of these. Are we running out of words to express ourselves; or are these silly hyphenated adjectives truly helpful? Eliminating redundancy in government — especially — should be a top priority if we ever want to get onto firm financial ground.

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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized