or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No Way

Oh, look--it's the apocalypse, heralded in the form of individually wrapped slices of some peanut-butter-like substance.

They're not even new: the Onion AV Club's Tolerability Index mentioned them this week, but apparently they've been around for a couple of years. I guess the apocalypse is taking longer than I thought.

Part of the home page for the product looks like this:

I have a strong suspicion that some advertising type wanted to use as a tagline the idiomatic "Fun any way you slice it!" and some dunderhead at the company rewrote it to read "Fun any way you eat it!", which is stupid. But that's not what I'm complaining about. It's this, which appears on every page except the home page:

That thing I said Tuesday about how when you hyphenate words together it has a way of changing their function? Also true when you bypass the hyphen and jam two words into one. You see this sort of thing all the time with the phrase "every day" versus the adjective "everyday", with people using the latter when they ought to be writing the former.

Dictionary.com has this to say about "anyway":

The adverb anyway is spelled as one word: It was snowing hard, but we drove to the play anyway. The two-word phrase any way means “in any manner”: Finish the job any way you choose. If the words “in the” can be substituted for “any,” the two-word phrase is called for: Finish the job in the way you choose. If the substitution cannot be made, the spelling is "anyway".

Pretty good rule.

(I would like to point out that what's true in English isn't true of all languages. English has many compound nouns (and other multi-word units), and many of them turn into other parts of speech, generally adjectives and adverbs, when they're shoved together, by whatever means, to make a single word. But German and Finnish, to name just two that I know of for sure, don't follow this rule, and their compound nouns are single words, however long they be. In English, for example, "chocolate cake" is a compound noun, and hyphenating it makes it an adjective: "I couldn't get enough of that chocolate-cake yumminess." In German, the compound is mashed into a single noun: "schocoladenkuche". I would also like to point out that the mere fact of compounding words into one doesn't necessarily change their part of speech in English: "lighthouse", for example, or "suntan". Finally, I would like to point out that the second I wrote the word "lighthouse", the song "One Fine Morning" by the '70s Canadian band Lighthouse began playing in my head, and, though you can't tell, it's half an hour later--I just cut my hair and then had a shower to wash off all those tiny hair bits-- and that song is still banging around in there.)


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