Sunday, April 08, 2007

N.Y. Times ditches the apostrophe

I hadn't noticed this until I had a chance to read further, but Merrill Perlman, in charge of copy desks at the Times, revealed in her online chat of last month that the Times has ditched the apostrophe-s for plurals.

It was long a vestage of the Times' (no, I don't use 's for that kind of possessive, either. It's an AP thing {grin}) all-caps headline style. But as Perlman noted:

As to the question above (and frequently submitted) of why we put apostrophes in decades (the 1960's) and in the plural of some all-capitalized initialisms (DVD’s), the answer is we don't anymore. Phil Corbett, the deputy news editor who is in charge of the stylebook, eliminated those anachronisms last October, with this comment:

Our main reason for using the apostrophe had been to avoid confusion in all-cap heds, but with those heds long since eliminated everywhere but Page One, that rationale is no longer compelling. And the apostrophe annoyed many readers, who thought we were mistakenly using a possessive form instead of a plural.

We hear you, and obey.

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2 Comments:

At 11/6/10, 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about this:
"In a decade's long career of crime . . ."

Does the apostrophe belong?

 
At 11/6/10, 3:15 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

No, if you mean multiple decades. The preferred form would be decades-long.

If you mean a single decade, you could use decade's long, but the preferred form would be decade-long.

 

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