Day 475: Superhero names (hyphenated or not)

Yesterday, dear readers, I suggested a new, superhero* identity for myself: “Super-Recovery-Woman.”

Gauging by the comments, people seemed to like this idea.

However, nobody embraced the hyphens in my proposed name. For example, quoth Sitting on My Own Sofa (using an alias of her own):

Dear Super Recovery Woman (with cats)

You know, we were just thinking that the world was in need of a new superhero. And after thoughtful deliberation, we have concluded that Super Recovery Woman fits the bill perfectly.

Thank you for stepping up.


The World Superhero Appointment and Licensing Committee

Also, a long-time friend from college, Gene Phillips, wrote this:

“Super Recovery Woman” would be a great new superhero…heck…is one.

And, mk  from WordPress, also dropped the hyphens in the superhero name, in this great comment:

Dear “Super Recovery Woman” you are a one fine addition to the super hero population of this world . As you and WSALC have officially come to an agreement , you definitely need a super hero costume .

Super Recovery Woman, this world needs you.

Likewise, in this kind comment from David Prosser, also from WordPress:

Super Recovery Woman sounds fine. At least a superwoman would have enough sense to know she can’t return to work until she’s ready, fit and able. You need strength to be able to jump over building in one leap.

If I harken back to my experiences of marketing focus groups … perhaps people are telling me this: “Drop the hyphens, Ann!”

Although, I have to admit, I have trouble with losses of all kinds, even punctuation marks.

And, as I also admit, I can struggle with decisions of all kinds, too.

Plus, here’s something I haven’t even considered yet: What is GRAMMATICALLY correct, for my superhero name?

Another possible superhero name for me could be Grammar Girl, although that’s already taken. That is, I can really focus on grammar issues when I’m writing (although, as I get older, I can sometimes lose track of what’s grammatically correct).

Here’s the deal: I’ve often been puzzled by the correct use of hyphens.

For example, what’s the correct way to write Peter Parker’s superhero identity? You know, this guy:


(I found this image here)

Is it:

  1. Spiderman
  2. Spider-man
  3. Spider-Man
  4. The Amazing Spider Man

I actually don’t know what the correct answer is, people. If you look on-line, it’s Super Confusing.

However, no matter which experts you consult, they will all agree there IS a hyphen in the name. And you are supposed to capitalize “Man,” apparently. So #3 is the most correct answer, from that list. (Here’s the Wikipedia entry, if you want more info.)

Confused?  Join the crowd. People often forget how to correctly punctuate that particular superhero name. (I know I do.)

So … to get back to MY superhero name: To hyphen or not to hyphen?  That is the question.

Let’s look at some pros and cons, shall we?

Choice #1:

Super Recovery Woman

Pros: According to my (admittedly small) sample size, that certainly seems like the popular choice. (Although there WERE a couple of write-in votes, yesterday, for SuperAnn** but if I expand the possible choices at this point, my head may explode.)  Also, that name will be easy to remember, when I and others are writing it.  No hyphens, no problem.

Cons:  I like hyphens.  Also, Spider-Man has always been one of my favorite superheroes, so a hyphen would be a nice homage.

Choice #2:

Super-Recovery Woman

Pros:  It has a hyphen!

Cons:  It might be difficult to remember where to place the friggin’ hyphen.  Also, the placement of the hyphen there implies that my recovery is what’s super, and not the rest of me.

Choice #3:

Super Recovery-Woman

Pros: It has a hyphen!

Cons:  It might be difficult to remember where to place the friggin’ hyphen.  Also, the placement of the hyphen there implies … I’m actually not sure what it implies. Maybe the same exact thing as “Super-Recovery Woman.” That’s odd.

Moving on …

Choice #4:


Pros:  It has two hyphens!  And, that was the way I wrote it originally, in yesterday’s post.  I guess I really like hyphens, huh?  That would also be pretty easy to remember — that is, people wouldn’t have to worry about where to put the hyphens. Hyphens everywhere!

Cons:  It has two hyphens!  Doesn’t that seem a little … much?  I mean, what superhero has TWO hyphens in their name?  Won’t that seem, perhaps, that I think I’m TWICE AS GOOD as any other hyphenated superhero?

(pant, pant, pant)

As I mentioned, I really struggle with making decisions, sometimes.

Here’s something that helps: using a process of elimination.

Okay!  I am going to rule out (1) Super-Recovery Woman and (2) Super Recovery-Woman.  Those are just too difficult to remember.

So that leaves, as  candidates for my superhero name, these two:

a. Super Recovery Woman

b. Super-Recovery-Woman

As I like to say in my work (as a group psychotherapist), “It’s time to go to the group!” That is, do you have a preference?***

Geesh!  I really thought I’d be tackling other issues in this post today, including

  1. Making more headway on my costume, and
  2. Considering a worthy nemesis.

But first things first, don’t you think?

Thanks to the Amazing Spider-Man (and all the other superheroes populating those comics I loved as a kid), to Grammar Girl, to all my creative and helpful readers, to superheroes of all kinds, to those who have various amounts of trouble making decisions, to people with opinions (or no opinions at all) about hyphens, and to you — especially! — for dropping by here today.


* Which could also be written “super-hero” or “super hero,” I suppose. I wonder what Grammar Girl would say?

** Thanks to Mark Bialczak and Mel Wild.

*** Actually, come to think of it, the group has probably already spoken — in yesterday’s comments. Yikes!  Sometimes I really DO have trouble letting go, don’t I?

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , | 34 Comments

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34 thoughts on “Day 475: Superhero names (hyphenated or not)

  1. I say the super hero gets to decide!
    Diana so

  2. You

  3. Who knew?… I certainly didn’t.
    Thanks Ann 😉

  4. although I am a staunch proponent of good grammar, alas, my failing memory (and physically comprised arthritic hands) often preclude me from using the proper punctuation, capitalization, or something that might even closely resemble good grammar … I am forever using too many ellipses, and my use of hyphens is almost pathetically incorrect, so I’m unable to offer much of a useful opinion on the subject … but ultimately, I say that either way, it’s up to you, since you are the one holding all the Super Powers. 🙂

    • I love ellipses. Maybe I should call myself Super … Recovery … Woman. I like that, too.

      Actually, I think we are all holding our own super powers. In any case, thanks so much for the visit and the comment!

  5. tjefferis1974

    although initially I was thinking against the use of the hyphens, I thought about it some more and realized it gives connection to the name plus the added bonus that you love hyphens so I say go with the hyphens.

    • Thank you for this lovely comment and vote!

      • tjefferis1974

        You are very welcome, but you will have to forgive me with your grammatically correct side when you read my comments and blog. hahahaha

      • I tend to be much tougher on myself, grammatically, than I am on others. I look forward to reading more on your blog!

      • tjefferis1974

        Thank you as I do with yours.

  6. Wow you definitely think alot 🙂 .This is a very witty and refreshing post .I really enjoyed reading it . To be very honest I don’t know why I drop the hyphens in my comment . After seeing your love for hyphens I think your super hero logo should be a hyphen (-) . So our super hero has a name and a logo . I would say things are progressing at a nice pace .

  7. Greetings, Ann. My vote is for Super-Ann. While I have been deeply moved by your life-long super-recoveries, I also witness your super-communicating, super-teaching, super-wisdom and super-spirit, to name a few. To me Super-Ann begins to capture those many qualities you’ve shown your readers. Blessings to you in your current super-identity crisis and physical recovery.

  8. Ha ha ha, this gave me a real chuckle, Ann. Do you know why I didn’t put any hyphens in Super Recovery Woman? I did think about it, but I hit the wrong key a couple of times trying to find them in the sunshine and gave up. I never learned how to reliably locate the top row of keys on my laptop.

    I vote for -Super-Recovery-Woman, which gives the impression of speed, and can also wrap around and become recursive, or circular like a hospital bracelet. (-Super-Recovery-Woman-Super-Recovery-Woman-Super-Recovery-Woman-).

    Also, hyphens should always be used when Super-Recovery-Woman is modifying something. “That’s a real Super-Recover-Woman dilemma.” But I won’t worry about this because I know that one of your super powers is being super non-judgmental. Or is that super-non-judgmental?

  9. PS. You’ll notice the aberrant period there. Etc. Awaiting Super-Recovery-Woman’s rescue.

    As we all are, in a way. Thank you for rescuing me today from boredom.

  10. Super Recovery Woman. I go with the plurality, Ann. Sleeker, cleaner, speedier without the hyphens you so adore. Sorry.

    A couple other rattled through my brain just now.

    Unabashed Hospital Blogger.

    Punctuation Princess.

    Under any alias, Ann Koplow, you’ve got the (super) power.

  11. Thanks for the humorous and insightful writing 🙂

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