Monday, October 29, 2007

If You Could Talk to the Editors . . .



I made a brief cameo appearance in the Post ombudsman's column Sunday. Meanwhile, some much more articulate dude is answering questions about language on the New York Times site.

7 comments:

typingtalker said...

Are there cameo appearances that are not brief?

Bill said...

Philip B. Corbett would never have committed such a repetitive redundancy.

Dr. Zoom said...

From the Times article:

For acronyms up to four letters long, we use all capital letters: NATO, for instance. But for acronyms of five letters or more, we just capitalize the first letter, as in Nafta or Unicef. That's because a story filled with long, all-cap expressions looks strange on the page, as though someone were shouting at you: NAFTA, I say! NAFTA, NAFTA, NAFTA!

To which I reply: "B.S.! B.S.! B.S.!"

What say you, Bill?

Bill said...

I've never operated with an arbitrary cutoff for all caps based on length, but I don't necessarily mind it.

I'm about to lose a battle on Navy Seal vs. Navy SEAL (if it were an all-caps acronym it'd be SAL or SAAL), so I'm in an anti-caps mood.

Stephen said...

Nobody else follows the four caps rule. I think it has more to do with how well you know the word and whether you're aware it's an acronym or have got used to treating it as an opaque word.

The argument that serial commas were not used in newspapers to save typesetting fails to account for the fact that there is no consensus on their use (I tend to follow the reasonable line that if there is no ambiguity the deciding factor is the length of the items in the list).

Ellydishes said...

The great argument against writing it as Navy Seals is that this conjures up silly, phocine imagery in the weak-minded.

Vadim Iaralov said...

Ellydishes, I wonder if the financial section should write about BEAR (BULL) stock markets as opposed to cattle commodity markets on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange?

But you are right, apparently, there is U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP) that uses sea lions, seals and dolphins.