So, the other day at work I was copy editing and came across the food item “black eye pea hummus.” Ooooh, sounds yummy (to me, at least). But I was pretty sure that the “pea” part of the name wasn’t spelled as it should be.
How else could it be written, you ask? Well…
blackeye pea hummus, black-eye pea hummus, blackeyed pea hummus, black-eyed pea hummus, black eyed pea hummus
In all, that is six ways I easily came up with, but I’m sure a couple more crazy ones exist. I’m just not that crazy, I guess.
Believe it or not, Google can be a copy editor’s best quick reference friend. I often will use the search engine to get a feel on what is the correct way to spell something, use a phrase, conjugate, etc. So, I Googled “black eye pea” and a couple versions were popping up. I could go with the pop culture use and say that the music group The Black Eyed Peas has got it right. I think they do…almost.
By the way, ever realize all the pop stars and songs that like to help you spell?
“B-A-NA-NA-S” (Gwen Stefani)
“T-R-O-U-BLE” (Travis Tritt)
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T” (do I really need to say?)
Here was my thought process after Googling. The pea has a “black eye” and it is describing the pea in the name, so it technically should end with “-ed.” Further, the combo descriptive word of “pea” should technically be hyphenated, so it’s “black-eyed pea.” However, I think hyphenations sometimes just don’t feel or look right to me and are best left as one whole word. So, that’s how you could land on “blackeyed pea” as the preferable and correct option.
For the job I was working on, I chose the technical correctness of “black-eyed pea hummus.” But if I let my rebellious side out…the side that knows I can break grammar rules now, because I know them well enough to do so…I would choose “blackeyed pea hummus.” Because that’s just cooler looking.
Now that you’ve read the most important thing you’ll ever read today, you can go back to tweeting and Facebook stalking without any guilt. You’re welcome. Ha.