O Pato - Duck three ways

This song has been like a earworm for the last day or so. Apparently ducks in Portuguese go "Quien, quien, quien..."

O pato vinha cantando alegremente, quém, quém
Quando um marreco sorridente pediu
Pra entrar também no samba, no samba, no samba

O ganso gostou da dupla e fez também quém, quém
Olhou pro cisne e disse assim "vem, vem"
Que o quarteto ficará bem, muito bom, muito bem
Na beira da lagoa foram ensaiar
Para começar o tico-tico no fubá

(translation - Eden Atwood)

O pato
the duck was dancing by the water,
quack, quack, quack
the rhythm made him think he oughta
quack, quack
he was dancing to the samba,
the samba, the samba

Oh goose ooh
The goose was gaining passing by,
honk, honk, honk
he stopped and gave the dance a try,
honk, honk
he was dancing to the samba
a new thing, a new swing

João  Gilberto

Coleman Hawkins

Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd

The case for and against Hyphens

As with most things in life when it comes to hyphens:
De gustibus non est disputandum, goes the saying: “there’s no arguing about taste.” Except that people argue endlessly about taste; a truer phrase is “there’s no way of proving your case in matters of taste.” De gustibus non est probandum.

The Economist weighs in on the correct use, abuse and toss-ups (tossups?) when it comes to hyphens.

You can write “we have zero tolerance for bad punctuation,” but when “zero tolerance” is used to modify a noun, it acts a bit like an adjective. It does not become an adjective, as many people think. But taken together, as a modifier, “zero-tolerance” functions like a single word; hence the hyphen.

Like most writing, careful reading and editing is what is needed along with the knowledge of a simple rule.

The Rule:
Fortunately, this is one rule that need not drive anyone mad: a group of words used as a single modifier should be hyphenated. or

The difference between a “third-world war” and a “third world war” is nothing to sniff at, and those selling a car might get rather more interest in the sale if they remember the hyphen in “a little-used car”.