Articles about "Grammar and style"


Grammar

Let grammar know who’s boss

So Tuesday is National Grammar Day. The first time I heard of that celebration, I thought that Poynter’s Vicki Krueger had said “National Grandma Day.”  I’m not sure it’s a good thing that grammar – especially in New England – sounds something like grandma. I prefer to remember that at one time in the history of the English language the words grammar and glamour were the same word! (That deserves an exclamation point, don’t you think?)

But even as we spend the day recognizing the importance of grammar, the question remains, “Which grammar?” Is it prescriptive grammar day, where we would mark people off for violations of standard English? Or is it descriptive grammar day, when linguists get all huffy about the ignorance and narrow-mindedness of the language scolds among us.

My inclination is to split the difference. If I had to place myself in a particular camp, mine would be rhetorical grammar.  Read more

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Taser is not a verb, says Taser

KATU morning producer Jennifer Kubus asked a good question on Twitter:

 

And Taser replied.

 

Nobody asked me, but I went ahead and said that I thought it was too late to put a lid on that usage. Read more

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AP has a new plugin for copyediting within web-based content management systems. (Depositphotos)

AP’s new Lingofy plugin is like a robot copy editor

Associated Press

Lingofy is a browser plugin that “checks website content for AP Stylebook’s spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style guidelines,” the Associated Press says in a press release. The for-purchase plugin also checks against Webster’s New World College Dictionary, the primary dictionary for the AP Stylebook.

Automated checkers aren’t new for AP — it introduced its StyleGuard in 2011, a plugin that checks writing done in Microsoft Word. Lingofy works for people writing directly into a CMS they access via a web browser. Users can add stylebook entries, and its dictionaries “improve over time,” the AP says. “The longer you use Lingofy, the more the system can learn about your unique writing style and the better the software gets at spotting errors and suggesting corrections.”

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NPR Headquarters

NPR will use term ‘Obamacare’ less

Maynard Institute | Associated Press
NPR standards editor Stuart Seidel asked reporters and editors to “avoid overusing ‘Obamacare’” after the Maynard Institute’s Richard Prince wrote him saying “the term can no longer be defended as neutral.”

Seidel’s memo, Prince writes, says:

“‘Obamacare’ seems to be straddling somewhere between being a politically-charged term and an accepted part of the vernacular.

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Are we heading for a post-apostrophe society?

Time | Slate | The New Republic

The apostrophe — the punctuation mark, not the parenthetical form of speech directed at one person — will never die as long as copy editors and auto-correct programs value it, Katy Steinmetz argues. (Happy National Punctuation Day, Katy!) Losing the punctuation mark forever would require a “revolution in thought and relaxation among gatekeepers of the written word,” she writes.

Copyeditors are still changing donut to doughnut, after all. “Language is constantly changing, but predicting what will happen next is notoriously challenging,” [Oxford University's U.S. dictionary honcho Katherine] Martin says. “It is difficult to believe that copyeditors are going to stop distinguishing between its and it’s in the near future.”

But at this point in publishing history, throwing one’s lot in with gatekeepers seems as sound as larding your pension with media-company stocks. The American Society of News Editors’ annual surveys of copy editor jobs show there are about half as many copy-editing positions at newspapers than there were a decade ago (though that category has also included layout editors and online producers at times in the survey). Read more

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Pfc. Bradley Manning

AP, New York Times, NPR update style on Chelsea Manning

“The Associated Press will henceforth use Pvt. Chelsea E. Manning and female pronouns for the soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning, in accordance with her wishes to live as a woman,” the news cooperative said in an advisory to editors and subscribers Monday evening.

The AP had previously said it wanted more information about the statement Manning released last week. More detail in this blog post — in which the former Bradley Manning Support Network says it will rename itself the Private Manning Support Network — and an interview with Manning attorney David E. Coombs allayed whatever concerns AP had.

In that interview, Coombs told AP Manning “decided to announce that she wanted to live as a woman the day after sentencing because the prison said publicly it would not provide hormone treatment.” Manning “wanted, essentially, for the media surrounding the trial to dissipate,” Coombs said.

Also on Monday evening, New York Times editor Steve Kenny tweeted this: Read more

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Journalists declare war…on ellipses

Slate

The job description of the ellipsis has changed, Matthew J.X. Malady writes. His emails, his text messages…full of three-point shots. Clay Shirky hypothesizes to him that “people are trying to use alphabets like we’re talking, and it’s … hard. So we reach for the ellipsis.”

Awl Editor Choire Sicha tells Malady he’s defeated his own overuse of ellipses, retraining himself to “send emails in complete sentences, with proper punctuation, like an adult person.”

At The Washington Post, using fewer ellipses is now an institutional imperative, judging by a July 17 memo from Managing Editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz and Multiplatform Editor Jesse Lewis. “We’ve noticed an overuse of the ellipsis recently,” they write. Read more

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San Francisco Chronicle changes style on ‘illegal immigrant’

The San Francisco Chronicle changed its style on “illegal immigrant” Monday. It’s the latest of several publications to reconsider the term.

The newspaper’s new style will “essentially match” the Associated Press’ style on the term, David Steinberg, copy desk chief at the Chronicle, said in an email to Poynter.

Chronicle journalists are now advised not to refer to a person as “illegal” or as an “alien;” instead, “illegal” should only be used in describing the means by which they entered the country, and only with proper attribution. Read more

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Los Angeles Times, too, moves away from ‘illegal immigrant’

Los Angeles Times

Articles in the Los Angeles Times “will no longer refer to individuals as ‘illegal immigrants’ or ‘undocumented immigrants,’ but instead will describe a person’s circumstances,” Times reader representative Deirdre Edgar writes.

New guidance to the newsroom says to “be specific whenever possible in describing an individual’s status”:

  • “Authorities said he crossed the border illegally.”
  • “She entered the country to attend college but overstayed her student visa.”
  • “He was brought here as a child by his parents, who entered the U.S. without a visa.”

The Times said in early April it would reconsider use of the term, after the Associated Press changed style on it. Read more

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Timeline shows changes to AP style

Journalism in the Americas

“Ms.” arrived in 1980. “Illegal immigrant” entered in 2004 (and left this year). The hyphen in “e-mail” left the building in March 2011.

Zach Dyer catalogs these and other changes to the AP Stylebook since 1980 in a nifty interactive timeline. The news collective’s process for changing style is “fairly democratic,” he reports after a conversation with AP Deputy Standards Editor David Minthorn:

For a more controversial term, like “illegal immigrant,” Minthorn said the organization considered feedback from its editors, some of who cover immigration, and took a vote. “It wasn’t unanimous but there was a strong majority,” he observed.

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