Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Words, Words, Words

I was perusing jobs on Craigslist the other day, and I came across several listings seeking the services of a copyeditor. Actually, I came across listings for a copyeditor, a copy editor, and someone to do copy-editing. Thinking something was amiss I discovered in some brief research that they were all correct usages. Go figure!

But my travels along the interwebs eventually had me wondering a) what does a copyeditor actually, really do? and b) can I get a job as a copyeditor? The answer to "b" appears to be no, but in searching for the answer to "a" I came across the AP Stylebook, which as the name implies is a reference book, answering all sorts of grammar, spelling and AP approved usages for newspapers.

You can order a copy of the AP Stylebook, and subscribers can submit questions to the editor, some of which were reprinted on the web page. I should probably be worried that I love shit like this, but in case you do as well, here's a few questions to the editor. Answers in tiny type below.

1. I've seen the term website listed various ways including: Website, website and Web site. Are these all acceptable? Can you explain your decision?

2. Does the term Farmers Market use an apostrophe after the s? Or should we not use one at all?

3. I know quotation marks always go on the outside of periods, does the same rule apply to question marks? Ex. How do you define “appropriately address”? Are quotes correct or should they be on outside?

4. e-mail or email

5. What was the rationale for dropping the parentheses from area codes in telephone numbers?


1. AP uses Web site as two words. We decided early on that Web site was a component or part of the World Wide Web, not a compound noun based on it (as, say, webcam).

2. AP style, based on information from the Washington State Farmers Market Association and the USDA, is "farmers market" with no apostrophe. (Generally, the farmers do not own the market.)

3. The placement of the question mark with quotation marks depends on the meaning. In the case you cite, the question mark would go outside (as in: Who wrote "Gone With the Wind"?) (See the Punctuation Guide section of the AP Stylebook.)

4. AP style is the hyphenated e-mail.

5. Since area codes are required in virtually all phone calls, there is no longer anything parenthetical about them. They are part of the phone number; no reason for the parentheses.

No comments: