Friday, September 23, 2005

Lessons learned from Katrina

Here are some style notes I've collected. Feel free to e-mail me more (or add them to the comments), and I'll add them here.
  • Underwater is one word as an adjective or adverb.
  • Floodwater is one word.
  • Buses has only two S's.
  • Tropical-storm-force winds needs two hyphens.
  • Canceled has only one L.
  • Levees are breached, not breeched.
  • Beware the abundance of adjectives. (Remember "show, don't tell"?)
  • Mph is acceptable in all references to miles per hour or miles an hour.
  • Whiskey has an E when it stands alone, but it's Scotch whisky.
And this isn't a rule that I can find, but it makes a lot of sense to me. So, here goes: There's no need to hyphenate mph, even as a modifier: Winds held steady at 35 mph and The 35 mph winds held steady. This follows the same pattern as dollars, percentages and millimeters.

Any arguments or additions?


At 2:49 PM, September 24, 2005, Blogger Scott Baradell said...

To be more specific on the whiskey/whisky reference, Scottish and Canadian products are spelled without the "e." Irish and American are spelled with the "e." Sometimes it pays to be a heavy drinker.

At 2:50 PM, September 26, 2005, Blogger Nicole said...

But be careful. If you're following AP style, you'd use the whiskey spelling with a Canadian product in the generic sense, even if it's proper name used the E.

Here's the full entry:

Scotch whisky A type of whiskey distilled in Scotland from malted barley. The malt is dried over a peat fire.
Capitalize Scotch and use the spelling whisky only when the two words are used together.
Lowercase scotch standing alone: Give me some scotch.
Use the spelling whiskey for generic references to the beverage, which may be distilled from any of several grains.
The verb to scotch means to stamp out, put an end to.

At 2:44 PM, September 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the mph entry ...

When I've had some free time down here on the sports desk, I've been coming up with possible updates for our sports style guide. I just googled "mph" and "hyphenate" to see if I could find any support out there for my belief that mph should never be hyphenated -- and on the first hit, I found it in my own building! Thanks, Nicole.

At 2:52 PM, September 22, 2006, Blogger Nicole said...

My pleasure!


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