ACES

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 6.52.08 AM

Question from ACES2015: Is it time to accept ‘they’ as a singular pronoun?

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 3.07.11 PM

The Associated Press didn’t announce any earthshaking changes last week at the annual American Copy Editors Society conference. But Ben Zimmer did notice a recurring topic.

“It feels like at every session I’ve attended, singular ‘they’ has come up,” said Zimmer, a Wall Street Journal columnist and the editor of Vocabulary.com.

Zimmer was on a panel Friday with Emily Brewster, an associate editor with Merriam-Webster, and they both addressed the question there. But it’s not really a new one.

“The question of whether or not it’s OK to use singular ‘they’ has been around for hundreds of years,” said Brewster.

In old English, “you” was once plural, but “they” as singular has been disparaged for a long time, Brewster said. Now, Zimmer said, there are some newer arguments for using singular “they.”

“At one level, it’s a matter of whether the English language is heading toward greater acceptance of ‘they’ being construed as a singular pronoun,” Zimmer said. Read more

Tools:
15 Comments

ACES: AP’s guidance on suicide terms shows sensitivity

ACES

On Friday at the American Copy Editors Society conference, The Associated Press revealed some of the upcoming changes to the 2015 AP Stylebook, and among them is updated guidance on suicide terms.

From our earlier story with the AP’s David Minthorn:

With stories about suicide, the AP now recommends not going into details.

“The guidance also says that we avoid using the term committed suicide except in direct quotations from authorities.”

Instead used “killed himself, took her own life or died by suicide.”

“Committed in that context suggests possibly an illegal act, but in fact, laws against suicide have been repealed in the U.S., at least in certain states, and many other places,” Minthorn said, “so we’re going to avoid using that term on our own, although it’s a term that authorities widely use and we will use it while quoting authorities.”

After those changes and others were shared at the ACES conference, ACES sent out a press release in support of the AP’s guidance on suicide terms. Read more

Tools:
0 Comments
Depositphotos_9566181_s

AP Stylebook change: BLT is now acceptable on first reference

BLT. Delicious and OK on first reference.

BLT. Delicious and OK on first reference.

On Friday morning, people at the American Copy Editors Society conference will get a preview of some of the changes coming to the 2015 edition of The Associated Press Stylebook. I asked David Minthorn, the AP Stylebook’s co-editor, about those changes and what people might freak out about.

“We’re never quite sure what people may be excited about,” Minthorn said. “But for example, we have two amended spellings of datelines that might be of interest.”

One of those datelines is Nepal’s capital.

“Now it’s K-A-T-H-M-A-N-D-U,” Minthorn said. “We felt it was time to conform with local preferences, and I think the dictionary also uses the that spelling.”

OK. That doesn’t seem melt-down worthy. And the AP doesn’t make these changes lightly, Minthorn said. Read more

Tools:
6 Comments

Copy editors’ advice for the new year: ‘Slow down’

Two editors recently shared some useful tips to help journalists detect and prevent mistakes. A selection of their advice is below, and be sure to read both articles.

I’ll add to the offerings by pointing to my free downloadable accuracy checklist. Want to know why I’m such an advocate for checklists? You can read more in this post. It includes a basic overview, as well some slides and a liveblog of a workshop I gave at American University. I also recommend this post from Steve Buttry, which includes his own version of a checklist.

Copy Editing Tips

The first bit of accuracy advice comes from Pam Nelson, who writes the Grammar Guide blog for the American Copy Editors Society. She offered 10 tips for copy editors, though they can also be applied to writers. Read more

Tools:
0 Comments