File under grammar nerd rabbit holes. WARNING: crude language.
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve had some family drama and picked up COVID. I’m on my last day of medications, but have not yet tested to see if it’s gone. I’m still a little loopy, though, if this recent train of thought is any indication.
I was thinking of an old joke, where capitalization is the difference between “helping your Uncle Jack off a horse” and “helping your uncle jack off a horse.”
I wondered, would the term “jack off” be hyphenated if referring to the act, thus making the capitalization immaterial? Turns out the answer is no.
If you are calling someone a “jack-off” (noun), you would hyphenate it. When using it as an action, it’s not.
If you hyphenate it, it’s a rude nickname for your uncle, but it still needs capitalization and would require an additional word to be correct. In its hyphenated form, it would be “helping your Uncle Jack-off off a horse.”
Capitalization still makes a difference… as does hyphenation.