Monday, April 03, 2006

Time to prune AP's stylebook

In April's Common Sense Journalism column, I have my yearly spring-cleaning suggestions for AP's stylebook as it prepares to issue the 2006 edition.

Among the suggestions is to get rid of most abbreviations in quotations. Then people will wonder less why we write in tongues. And, again, I say it's time to simplify the needlessly convoluted style on numbers.

And I think it's time to ditch:
  • Another/an additional
  • Flier/flyer (the public is telling us it sees flyer as a useful term for handbill)
  • None as a singular - the public has spoken, literally
  • Over vs. more than - when the editor in charge of copy desks at one of the nation's leading newspapers says this is irrelevant, it's time to listen
  • Under way as two words. Time to give in to popular use.
Check out the column for explanations of these and others.


At 4/4/06, 9:45 PM, Blogger fev said...

"San'a" gets my vote. Of all the places to insist on rendering not just a consonant nobody in the target audience can pronounce but an arbitrary transliteration of it ...

If we're going to keep the consonant at the beginning of the second syllable, let's be _really_ persnickety and keep the consonant that ends it too.

Sorry to rant. Too much time slaving over a hot deadline sweekend.

At 4/15/06, 5:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Web site

What about the capitalization of "Internet?"

Is this ever going to go away? I don't write papers on my Computer; why do I do research on the Internet?

At 4/15/06, 11:09 AM, Blogger Doug said...

Yes, all those should be reviewed. I just have a word limit on the column and, well, something had to go.

Internet, though has a little bit more credibility capped, as it is already one word and does refer to a formal thing. Web site/website, on the other hand, is a coined term with more liquidity as a result.

The "Computer" analogy is not quite on point, since "computer" is a generic term and never has been capped. But you do write on your "Dell" or your "Gateway," etc.

The debate about Internet is more like one about a trademark -- when does it pass into wide enough usage that it becomes generic?


Post a Comment

<< Home