Nonlife-threatening thread topic

This article I saw in a Pit thread is not the first place I’ve seen this curious construction:

“Their nonlife-threatening injuries were treated…”

Is a nonlife-threatening injury something you’d inflict on a zombie in Dawn of the Dead?


You have certainly nailed this forum down with such a mundane and pointless thread.

Since I’m pretty clueless about your point, I will just say that “non life threatening” is a phrase I’ve come across many times in the news.

But was it constructed the same way as in the linked article? The OP’s point is that there seems to be a big difference between “non life threatening” and (in the article) “nonlife-threatening” - or in other words, threatening the state of nonlife?

Yeah. Adjectivally, it should be hyphenated: a non-life-threatening injury. Used as a subject, replace the “non” with “not”: the injury was not life-threatening.

It’s just funny to me that “nonlife” isn’t really a mainstream word but has connotations to nerd types like myself, transforming it from an error of ignorance into a sly pun.

Mundane, I grant.


I laughed.

Of course, I also laughed at the T-shirt that said “Is anal-retentive hyphenated”?

There is a comedian whose name I can’t recall that has a bit about moving the hyphen in common phrases. This can be done in conversation by changing the emphasis. I love it when people become so enthralled with the virtues ov giant gas guzzling trucks that I can stand back and also talk about the " big ass-truck.""

Nonlife-threatening is nothing for me to worry about my pet rock is terrified.

Well, yes and no. I’m a newspaper copyeditor and run across this a few times a week. Associated Press style for non as a prefix is to use it without a hyphen but as one word, i.e. noncombatant, nonpartisan, nonprofit.

The problem is that, while it seems to follow the rule, nonlife-threatening does look like someone’s aiming a shotgun at a ambling zombie’s head.

Usually, I try to recast the sentence to avoid it: “Police said his injuries were not life-threatening.”

It’s this kind of mundane stuff that pays the mortgage for me.

Even better are the folks who drive around with big window decals that read “Bad Ass Truck.”

This was an xkcd strip

My difficulties in establishing and/or maintaining valid interpersonal relationships allow me to define a comic strip as a comedian. It’s kind of a fringe benefit.

My pet rock is funny.