Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Style matters

I started reading the AP Stylebook. The Bible of the newspaper industry (so it says on the cover). Most of the book is organized alphabetically, and I’ve been reading one letter’s worth of entries a day. That’s not how you’re supposed to use the book (it’s akin to reading the dictionary), but there’s some cool stuff I discovered. Like the difference between blond and blonde. That adviser is not spelled with an –or at the end. That Dr Pepper has no period after Dr.

Occasionally a single word or phrase will appear sans further explanation. It’s good to know that there’s no capitalization in brussels sprouts, but is broccoli a commonly misspelled word? Or bicycle?

It’s also interesting to see the AP preferred spellings and usage of words. Amok, not amuck (really, I might use it someday). By the way, here’s an AP rule that I don't understand: best-seller is always hyphenated. Not in my world! In general, I tend to under-hyphenate, instead opting to run words together at whim. To me, hyphenation often adds clutter. And you know how I hate clutter.

So far, I've only read through letter D. But I am looking forward to the entire alphabet. Good stuff.


Jean said...

Hi! You know I am a total word freak. This is fascinating to me. I may have to get my own copy!

michelle said...

I always spell adviser wrong. And I ignore spell-check when it tells me it's wrong. And I even spelled it wrong in an email I sent you on the day you wrote this post. I think that's ironic. Except maybe not. I'll have to check the style book. ;)

I think it's cool that you are reading the style guide. Such interesting tidbits to uncover.