All-about wrongly-hyphenated Tom-Brady

It’s only a hyphen. But just because it’s tiny doesn’t mean you should abuse it.

The CBS Sports writing team? Those guys must hate the lowly hyphen:

  • The league’s coaches were on-hand to get their first glimpse of XFL football.

For the hyphen, this is servitude on the order of Paul Newman’s torture in Cool Hand Luke. The only time you connect on to hand with a hyphen is in the rare case of the two words together forming an adjective — as in He’s ignoring his on-hand resources in favor of far-flung so-called specialists.

  • They’re bringing aboard what is viewed to be one of the top-two players at the position in this year’s class.

We’re talking about two guys, the top two players at the position. If you talk about top-two players, with the hyphen, you’ve created a category of players: all the top-two players. Not much of a category, when you think about it.

(P.S. Don’t refer to a human being as a what. They’re bringing aboard someone who is viewed to be….)

  • Other highly-regarded prospects won’t be taken by a team until Friday night’s second round at the earliest.

Many folks are desperate to hyphenate an adverb-adjective combination like this. But the adverb doesn’t need help to be understood. This is one of the adverb’s jobs: to modify the adjective. Simplest rule to follow (thanks to Adverbs ending in ly almost never need a hyphen.

  • Brady will enter next season at 42-years-old and is well on his way to reaching his self-made mile marker of playing until he’s 45.

If you’re talking about a 42-year-old, you need the hyphens to make the whole 3-word combination into a single noun. Or if you’re talking about a 42-year-old quarterback, you need the hyphens to make the whole 3-word combination into a single adjective. But if you’re just saying he’s 42 years old, well, then, this is just the usual way of using these words, no hyphens required.

(To recap, especially for the benefit of New England fans: Tom Brady is the highly regarded top-two 42-year-old on hand — so we’re keeping him.)

(To recap for New England’s numerous anti-fans: This is a time-sucking, utterly out-of-line jerk-faced post.)

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