A grammatically incorrect newspaper headline is showing just how important hyphens can be
An innocent headline, ruined.
Newspaper sub-editors have a tough job.
Reading thousands of words a day – and knowing that missing just one thing can completely flip the meaning of a story – is undoubtedly high-pressure stuff.
So when looking at the below headline, allow yourself to feel a smidgen of sympathy for the person at The Pratt Tribune who looked over this article before giving it the all-clear.
Writer: "Is it 'firsthand' or 'first hand'?"— AJ ⚾️ (@NCSox) October 29, 2017
Editor: "Either one is fine." pic.twitter.com/36xHxrG9q1
That’s quite an unfortunate error from the Kansas tri-weekly paper, and is an example of some rogue grammar turning a harmless story into something it really wasn’t supposed to be.
In American English, “first hand” should’ve been “firsthand” – while in Britain “first-hand” would’ve been used to avoid the very NSFW headline.
The error is providing a lot of laughs.
True but first hand job expierence is more important— Terry Morris (@morristv) October 30, 2017
Editing ain't what it used to was.— Lyle Spencer (@LyleMSpencer) October 30, 2017
The first two words of the story are "Eager Students". Yeah I'd say so.— PollMaster General (@cfb_poindexter) October 29, 2017
These sorts of grammar mistakes rub some people the wrong way.— Bart Smaalders (@BSmaalders) October 30, 2017
So at least something good came out of it.