Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

One big ass mistake America.

I'm thinking it should be:

One big ass mistake, America.

share|improve this question
8  
One big ass-mistake America. Source: xkcd.com/37 –  Ophiuroid Oct 21 '10 at 6:08
1  
"A large donkey-error America" -- I like it, Ophiuroid :-) –  Antony Quinn Oct 21 '10 at 8:40
    
The Russian czar once wrote "Pardon not, to Siberia", and his minister who knew that the czar was weak on punctuation corrected him: "Pardon, not to Siberia". –  malach Oct 22 '10 at 12:30
1  
@Ralph: never heard of that one, and a few quick Google/Yandex/Rambler searches do not return anything useful. There is, however, a similar (and extremely common) phrase that is used to teach Russian children punctuation: казнить нельзя помиловать. Depending on where you place the comma, you either get казнить, нельзя помиловать ("execute, do not pardon") or казнить нельзя, помиловать ("execute do not, pardon"). Anyhow, I am not aware of any actual czar ever writing that, only czars in Soviet-era fairy-tale movies do it every now and then. –  RegDwigнt Dec 20 '10 at 13:01
1  
@regDwight - Si non è vero, è ben trovato. I heard it in German, and it might well go back to the phrase you know. –  malach Dec 20 '10 at 15:50
add comment

3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

There should be a hyphen between big and ass, as the two words together form an adjective, applied to mistake. (See also Ophiuroid’s comment referring to xkcd).

There should certainly be something before America; I agree with Boofus’s answer on that issue.

share|improve this answer
add comment

How it should be punctuated depends on the message. If one is telling America that it has made a big ass mistake, it should have the comma. If one is saying that America is one big ass mistake (perhaps one is British), a colon would probably be best.

One big ass mistake: America.

share|improve this answer
2  
Perhaps if one were British, one might spell it 'arse'. –  Brian Hooper Oct 23 '10 at 12:44
2  
@Brian Hooper: One likely would. Does anyone else spell it "ass" or is it only Americans? Does anyone know a website where I could ask that? –  J.T. Grimes Oct 23 '10 at 23:21
    
is donkey synonymous with arse? Arse has ass' component of the buttocks, but not the donkey. Would not "ass" be a wholly separate word? –  mfg Oct 27 '10 at 18:29
    
The context of the question was its meaning as buttocks. I don't believe anyone uses "arse" to mean a donkey (though this site has taught me not to be sure about any of my beliefs about usage). –  J.T. Grimes Oct 27 '10 at 21:22
add comment

If you're addressing America, the comma before the name is necessary.

share|improve this answer
add comment

protected by RegDwigнt Jul 17 '11 at 14:47

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.