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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Criminal Sentence 352: A Long Fossil

From a book I am reading (pay attention to the third sentence):

"Certainly fossils are a particular pleasure. They do not appeal to everyone, for they are the remains of creatures. If you think on it too much, you would wonder at holding in your hands a long dead body."

Ahhh, the power of hyphens. Compare "a long-dead body," which joins up "long" and "dead" to modify "body," and "a long dead body," which suggests that the dead body is long. The fossils described in this book are small snail-like creatures.

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