Wednesday, May 05, 2004

More than speed

In the last post, I mention a Swift boat that John Kerry and John O'Neill commanded. Should the S in Swift be capitalized? The topic is being debated on the ACES board.

I think it should be capped. It looks as if Swift is the boat's nickname. It's actually called a PCF (for personal craft, fast). This interview at says that because of their maneuverability, they were called Swift boats, or just Swifts.

I don't like the idea of lowercasing swift because it then looks like an adjective. Nickname or not, this is what the boat is called. Jim Franklin makes the point:
Frankly, I don't see why that should not be treated as a proper name, as we would treat the nickname of an Air Force plane (Falcon, Hornet, etc.).
Peter Fisk points out that Snopes says Swift may be an acronym for Shallow Water Inshore Fast
Tactical Craft. This would create some confusion. Surely, it would be a back-acronym (that's missing its last C). Plus it's more than five letters -- and so it wouldn't need to be capped as, say, AIDS is.

So, bottom line, I vote for Swift boat, as to not be confused with swift boat.


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