--- a/src/g_template.c
+++ b/src/g_template.c
@@ -615,6 +615,9 @@
     t_symbol *sym = atom_getsymbolarg(0, argc, argv);
     if (argc >= 1)
         argc--; argv++;
+    if (sym->s_name[0] == '-')
+        pd_error("warning: struct '%s' initial '-' may confuse get/set, etc.",
+            sym->s_name);  
     return (gtemplate_donew(canvas_makebindsym(sym), argc, argv));
 }