Thursday, October 06, 2005

More on Texas Hold 'em

I received a response from Norm Goldstein on Texas Hold 'em:
First, the full term, Texas Hold 'em, is the more common usage, including that of the World Series of Poker.

Also, the last word is a corruption of "them" and would be lowercase in any use (as in "sic 'em").
I'm not sure I agree that 'em would be lowercase in any use. What about in a title? What about at the beginning of a sentence?

That argument makes sense to me if the words are forced together, as in Hold'em. But not when 'em stands alone.


At 4:53 PM, October 06, 2005, Blogger Nick said...

Agreed, Nicole. Lowercase 'em makes no sense if you're going to cap Hold. That was a disappointing call on AP's part, and I bet it contradicted the settled style at most of its member newspaper. Do you know whether Norm ever surveys members before making rulings like this?

At 5:05 PM, October 06, 2005, Blogger Bill said...

I didn't have strong feelings one way or the other, but the Post chiefs just decided to lowercase words truncated thusly in upstyle headlines. The feeling was that the cap for 'em goes only with the T.

At 5:54 PM, October 06, 2005, Blogger Nick said...

But, Bill, shouldn't we cap proper names? (Of course, whether Texas Hold 'Em is really a proper name is a whole other debate, but let's assume so for the sake of argument.) Doesn't it help the reader keep things straight? Why else do we insist on capping trade names with lowercase logo treatments?

At 9:25 PM, October 06, 2005, Blogger Nuclear Redaction said...

If the term were a copyrighted name, of if the "hold" part derived from a proper name, then I can see going upstyle. Making the "H" up because the World Series of Poker does it that way is akin to making "Tennis" up in all instances because of, for example, the All England Lawn Tennis Championships.

At 5:48 PM, October 07, 2005, Blogger Nick said...

I should have brought my last comment full-circle. I think the apostrophe in 'em is no substitute for a capital letter, and if Hold is capped, then 'Em should be, too.

But, I'd buy an argument along the lines of the one Nuclear Redaction (great name) is making: Texas hold 'em may be no more a proper name than contract bridge.

At 11:42 AM, October 08, 2005, Blogger Nicole said...

OK, I'm back in civilization now and will jump into this conversation late.

I can't make much sense of that new Post rule, Bill. But it certainly works along the same lines as this style rule. Adopt one, and I suppose you can justifiably adopt the other.

But I still don't like it. Capping serves a function to set the word apart. It goes with the first letter. And in Them, that's the T. But in 'Em, that's the E.

At 12:10 PM, January 14, 2006, Anonymous texas holdem said...

I'm a little late to the blog, but on an interesting note, when you google "em" lowercase with quotes, you get alot more than "em" in uppercase. I guess either the populus is lazy or perhaps it's just that they are used to it that way? Some of the others like texas holdem should probably technically be lowercase since it's included in the word, but then again, is holdem even a word?


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