July 02, 2012
Punctuating a, long and wordy, qualifier
I found this in a comment on a blog post:
The, not really qualified for the position of teacher, instructor never bothered to use Notepad++.I like this, because the author has the right instinct: there's a complex modifier for the word instructor, and he understands that it needs to be typographically indicated to make it parsable. The usual way is to hyphenate the whole dang thing:
The not-really-qualified-for-the-position-of-teacher instructor never bothered to use Notepad++.Or a more boring way is to recast, e.g.:
The instructor, who was not really qualified for the position, never bothered to use Notepad++.But that takes a certain oomph out of the sentence. It's possible that "Scott" considered hyphenating but was not comfortable; creating a chunk of hyphenated text like that takes a certain determination, and a faith that the reader will plow through it. Obviously, yer various style guides are not going to be down with using commas as the alternative. Still, like, I say, I do like this. It shows a writing mind at work.