A "rent-to-own" store at a local strip mall has the following sign in its window:
FOR THE YEAR
But hanging above the store's entrance is another sign:
Which leads to (not "begs") this question: Why is there no hyphen in the other sign?
My best guess: Some designer said that
would look lousy.
Or could it be that, in these ever-tightening financial times, the store chain decided it had to cut back on hyphens?
And if so, where does the store get its hyphens? From Rent-a-Hyphen?
Are there specialized stores for this sort of thing? Comma World? The Period Store? Or, for those who can afford a more upscale product, Ampersands R Us?
And if you rent a hyphen but miss a payment, does someone come and repossess it? And maybe take a semicolon or two as interest?
Are punctuation-mark stores a good investment? Is it best to diversify -- put some of your money in hyphens and dashes, and some in diacritical marks? Should we keep a sharp eye on the international value of the umlaut?
And do badly placed apostrophes drive properly placed apostrophes out of circulation?
It's hard to say. Perhaps we should just await the release of that key indicator, the Gross National Syntax.