An Example of Linguistic Change

On occasion we say (write) something like “go part way up the street” and it feels perfectly natural. We might also say something like “that’s only a part-way solution,” and that’s still okay. Now look at this sentence:

“There” in this case is Mars, specifically partway up the flank of Aeolis Mons, aka Mt. Sharp, the massive central peak in Gale Crater, where NASA’s Curiosity rover is still poking around.

This is a rather common change in English. We go from separate words, to hyphenated, to one word. (One of my favorite examples of this is the change from to-day to today.)

Anyway, this tendency to move toward single words is fairly common.

Here’s the picture that the sentence is about:

[Curiosity looks down Mt. Sharp. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]

PS—Here’s a word that has finished the transition to one word, and the writer gets it wrong.

Maybe he split “shortcoming” to make a nicer line break; but then, he should have hyphenated it.