John McCain may have robbed ACORN of its dignity. But what's worse, the organization has been robbed of its acronym.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has been thrust into the spotlight as McCain has tried to paint the low-income and working-class advocacy group as a godless flag-burning gay Muslim tree-hugging crypto-Marxist terrorist cell. As news outlets finally give the press-starved organization some attention, far too many have reported on "Acorn," lowercasing the hell out of it, disregarding its acronymic roots.
Acronyms get uppercased, John: It's "ACORN." Unlike you, it stands for something.
Please discuss the acceptance of, for instance, "$20 billion" without a hyphen between "$20" and "billion." Surely "$20 billion" is a compound noun and should be spelled "$20-billion." Otherwise it reads: "Twenty dollars billion." If the sum were to be spelled out, it would be: "twenty-billion dollars," the "twenty-billion" being a compound adjective modifying "dollars."
Last week I happened upon a 1961 Gay Talese article from The New York Times. The copyediting was adorable. "Good-by." "Week-end." "70 per cent." Look even further back and you'll find words like "to-day" and "to-morrow" hyphenated. Precious, no?
Point being, we've lost a lot of hyphens. And good riddance to every one of 'em.
You're thinking too hard about this $20 billion. When your brain reads that dollar sign first, it instinctively knows to put it at the end of your number. There's no confusion to begin with. Adding a hyphen only gums up the works.
Even internally, the logic for the hyphen isn't there. Going with your argument, it would read not "twenty dollars billion" but "dollars twenty billion." Which is clearly dumb.
While you're at it, wanna spot a typo? Next time you're reading something, be on the lookout for "$20 billion dollars." I bet you see it within a day. Because while your brain knows to take that dollar sign and spell it out after your figure, all but the keenest proofreading eyes won't realize when doing so doubles your dollars.