Like millions of viewers, I tune in nightly to watch The Daily Show. Its edited segments let ‘authorities’ state the facts–as believed. Yes, the show provides a humorous bias on current events, but it rarely needs to regret an error in fact. Thank you, research team!
Fact-checking takes nothing for granted. Some questions researchers ask are: Is the issue covered from all aspects? Is the report current? Is it sponsored? Is the authority an author? An actor? Who has editorial control?
In the age of digital media I wonder whether it’s more important to not get sued than to get it right.
Subway riders “Mind the gap”. Word lovers mind the cap, consistently. It’s just that capitalization rules can vary by style guide. We know the rules for proper nouns and proper names but not so much for eponyms, acronyms and initialisms. Here’s how various references cite capital letters.
- 16th century
- baby boomer
- Bible, Torah, Qur’an
- braille, often capitalized
- Caesarean section
- Cajun music
- diesel engine
- Generation X
- Grammy Award
- k. d. lang, except when first word in a sentence
- medieval period
- middle aged
- Middle Ages
- n/a – not applicable
- Na – chemical symbol
- Old Man Winter
- Petri dish
- Phillips screw driver
- Platonic solids
- single malt Scotch
- the Sixties
- the West Coast
This topic raises a question about common usage.
In my world, an addendum, like an appendix, is a supplement to a book. Publications may conclude with several of these add-ons but not usually in combination. So what is acceptable usage when a book contains more than one addendum or appendix – Addenda? Appendices?
Conversationally, this sounds pretentious if not passé. It took a short twenty years for appendixes to become the preferred term. Updating the style guide neither hastens a term’s use nor demise.
I turn to Merriam-Webster for guidance. The dictionary recognizes the use of addendums but keeps silent on whether that form is correct. Answers.com says addendums is an acceptable plural.
These days when I hear appendices and especially indices the words ring like nails on a blackboard. (Does anyone even know what a blackboard is?) Addendums will become generally accepted no doubt. A living language gets tweaked every day.
Want to compose your documents by voice instead of by keystrokes?
Mom probably never thought that her advice to ‘think before you speak’ applied to technical speaking, but today, that’s all you really need to do to use dictation software.
Current systems are so reliable that even a child’s voice can serve as a suitable input. Not that you’d want baby Kaylie dictating court proceedings, but it’s technologically possible. If you were going to choose Kaylie’s voice, the setup might look something like this:
Benevolent types only
Fortunately, two decades of steady improvements have untethered the technical speaker from desktops in quiet rooms. You could say that technical speaking is as easy as chattering on a cel phone – if you know exactly what you’re about to say.
Typically before a hockey game you’ll see transit buses destined for “Go Canucks Go”. In the run up to the 2010 Winter Olympics buses changed the route to “Welcome World”.
Canada did a pretty good job getting the word out worldwide. With Olympic-size crowds to be welcomed, businesses and schools flexed their hours and some locals left town.
The blue and green, sea and sky motif is the theme of Vancouver 2010. The signage is as familiar as an umbrella – just totally unexpected a half a world away.
But there at the Canadian Embassy in Hanoi was the familiar signage, welcoming visitors like me.
Stop the bus!
Vancouver 2010 signage in Asia
That was the translation offered by an Asian gentleman as I paid for a bus pass. I had to know if the same symbol represented both money and dollars.
Another day, another money
They appeared to be different enough but conceptually the idiom worked. Learning the global language of money one idiom at a time. Next up:
- sixty-four-thousand-dollar question
- phony as a three-dollar bill
- day late and a dollar short
- bet dollars to donuts
Hearing that educated women have fewer healthier children seems questionable sure, but the reporter understood the subject’s context. This Q&A is from an article in Rotman Magazine, an interview with economist, Michael Spence.
Q Why is it so important for developing countries to focus on educating young girls and integrating them into the labour force as a way to break intergenerational cycles of poverty:
A Educated women have fewer, healthier children; they have them later in life…
The comma means ‘and’; fewer and healthier children, no question.
Report style v Q&A style
The Global Health Council addresses the same subject in a report on Girls’ Education: A Self-Sustaining Investment in Children’s and Women’s Health.
- Delay marriage and first pregnancy
- Have fewer low-birthweight babies and healthier newborns
- Have smaller families
Same issue. Different presentation style. Know the context. Say it right.