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CommaKazi Speek

A blog (weblog) containing harsh realities, bitter truths and other reasons to smile

Friday, June 16, 2006

Be a Style Guide

If a "guide" is someone who leads or directs another's way, I suggest that we act as an unwanted guide to the Associated Press and IABC. I'm not talking widespread mutiny, just some common-sense in the use of two now-common words: email and website.

The editors of the AP Stylebook and the IABC Style Guide might be cringing a little, but I'm trying to bring them into the modern age.

I was handed an AP Stylebook as part of my freshman coursework in Journalism 101, and have continued to rely upon it in just about every job I've had since. (One consulting firm used the more formal Chicago Manual of Style.) I rarely disagree with the AP Stylebook, and have often used it to settle disputes with coworkers. The IABC states that its Style Guide "is based largely on The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual."

So let's fix two publications with one decision: To face the reality that the words "e-mail" and "Web site" are outdated and in major decline. Time to go with email and website.

Do a search on Google for "e-mail," and you'll get about 10.4 million results. But look at the results; they almost exclusively say "email" without a hyphen. Check the links on the Google ads--again, almost exclusively without the hyphen. Or read what Ray Tomlinson, the person credited with first using the @ symbol in email, says about it.

Same with the term, "Web site." An AP Stylebook editor writes
"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)."


Well, why don't the rest of us decide that regardless of where it resides on the Intranet, just about everyone thinks of it as a single word: "website"?

This is the age of social media, consumer-generated messages, yadda-yadda. Let's let our voices be heard and bring some common-sense to this style issue.

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