Pump Room

No one cares more

When I got my reviewer's copy of Bill Walsh's new book, Yes I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk (St. Martin's Griffin, 256 pages, $14.99), the book fell open to this passage: "You're free to talk back to your usage guides. (Funny--people don't seem to have any reservations about telling me I'm nuts about hyphenated modifiers, or. ..."

I immediately recollected a spirited exchange over hyphenated modifiers (you know how copy editors get) at the ACES conference in Philadelphia in which I asked my learned colleague whether he would hyphenate high-school student. He said, "Yes," and I blurted,...