Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Thing #243--Watch Your Language

Missouri is rolling out new license plates this year. However, they have a grammatical mistake; the hyphen is missing in the state’s nickname, “Show-Me State.” I'm not an English teacher, but according to some references I checked, if you have a compound modifier before a noun, it should be hyphenated.

The mistake is bad enough, but the state isn't planning on fixing it. According to the Department of Revenue, they won't fix the mistake because that’s how the sample looked when voters chose it (from three options) in an online contest. Two million plates have been produced so far, but another 10 million have yet to be made. The department could reorder the remaining plates with the correct hyphenation, but it doesn't plan to do so.

I won't get my new plate until next spring, but Tony's already got his. Today I corrected a grammar mistake on a license plate.

I used a Sharpie to make the small dash in between the two words on the front and back plates. The dash was only about an eighth of an inch long, and hardly noticeable from a distance, but I have the satisfaction of knowing it's correct.


  1. I love good grammar.

    Also, I think Missouri has my favourite state motto. I'm very curious to learn what it's going to show me.

  2. Haha, that's great! As a former English major, I very much appreciate that. :)