Not so law abiding – punctuation-wise, anyway

LessFewerThere is all sorts of hoopla over the new Jaime Foxx movie “Law Abiding Citizen”. You can read about it here, if you’d like.

I could be wrong, but shouldn’t it be “Law-Abiding”? If I understand this correctly, law-abiding is a compound adjective, which would require a hyphen.

I shall quote Rule 4 from Grammar Book:

Rule 4.

Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.

Examples: friendly-looking man  (compound adjective in front of a noun)

friendly little girl  (not a compound adjective)

brightly lit room (Brightly is an adverb describing lit, not an adjective.)

If I’m correct, it wouldn’t be the first movie/TV show to make grammar/punctuation mistakes. I’m sure we all remember the 2002 film “Two Weeks Notice” with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant. I’m sure you’re all yelling out now, WHERE IS THE APOSTROPHE AFTER WEEKS?!?!?! How does a movie go from the glimmer in the writer’s eye until the film’s release without anyone noticing? The TBS show “Ten Items or Less” also really gets to me. When you are referring to a counting noun, “items” in this case, the correct usage is fewer. For some reason, it appears that most supermarket owners have yet to learn the rule either.

You can rest assured knowing some of us are vigilant about these sorts of things, so you don’t have to.

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