|Man eating crocodile|
Richard Firsten is the author of the article and asked me to do the illustrations. These are his words from the article regarding the importance of the hyphen:
Punctuation marks were created to aid readers, to make phrasing clearer and more easily recognizable for readers. Here’s a case in point. If I write here Man Eating Crocodile, which picture reflects what I’ve written?
In actuality, it’s the picture on top that depicts what I’ve written, but a show entitled Dangerous Encounters on the cable network NatGeoWild (National Geographic Wild) used that title for one of its episodes. Of course they should have written Man-Eating Crocodile. That hyphen shows readers that man and eating are being used together as a single adjective to describe a ferocious crocodile. The hyphen helps readers to understand that and phrase it properly in their minds. In fact, the rules of prosody in English dictate a change in how these words should even be spoken if the hyphen is present or absent. (I’m going to use capital letters and bold face to show which words or parts of words receive more or less equal stress in the flow of speech):man eating crocodile = MAN EATing CROCodileman-eating crocodile = MAN eating CROCodile