Monday, September 29, 2008

Loopy AP-ism of the day

-persons Do not use coined words such as chairperson or spokesperson in regular text.

That's as opposed to those naturally occurring words like "chairman" and "spokesman," which were handed down at Mt. Sinai or created during the Big Bang or something?

I can't tell when this one entered the stylebook; it dates at least to 1984 (the earliest edn I have around here), so it's not from the remarkable wave of stupidisms that showed up in 1986. Ideas?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was taught to defer to AP BUT to use "chair" whenever possible. We leave "spokesman" or "-woman" alone.

11:34 AM, September 29, 2008  
Blogger fev said...

That's not an unreasonable set of guidelines, though I expect you probably get the occasional complaint about letting pieces or furniture run meetings. I'm more and more inclined to prefer style dicta that go for "pretty consistent" and "not too clueless."

I'd rather that the AP didn't spend its energy implying that its way is the right, or real, or original way that American English works, but maybe some stylebook editor someday will make language fallacies the new guiding theme

11:11 PM, October 05, 2008  

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