This 6-foot-4 blogging legend says ...

Mr. Rewrite is excited that student journalists from his place of employment are covering the Summer Olympics in London. That has him thinking about AP style for various Olympic events.

First, the AP Stylebook notes that it's decathlon rather than decathalon. AP is kind enough not to point it out, but Mr. Rewrite will note that many articles are already making this mistake (example: this PR piece touting Stanford University's Olympic athletes).

As the Dream Team and its equivalent in the women's ranks go for the gold, note that according to AP style Carmelo Anthony shouldn't take so many jump shots (two words) as a frontcourt (one word) player.

Per AP, boxers knock out (v.) their opponents but score knockouts (n.) and land knockout (adj.) blows. Masked people in those strange white outfits wield sabers, not sabres. Athletes and teams win tie breakers (two words). Serena Williams and badminton players (giggle) swing rackets, not racquets.

That's all for now from this 6-foot-4 (AP style) blogging legend.


Childrens' and womens' service too!

Uh, since men is already plural the possessive is men's. The same goes when making possessives of other nouns with irregular plurals (examples: women's, children's, people's, oxen's and mice's).

Someone took the time to explain this so Mr. Rewrite doesn't have to. Here's a link.


Getting this right tests one's mettle

Welcome to homophone hell.

After finally pulling a bunch of boxes out of the attic of Rewrite Sr. and Mother Rewrite, Mr. Rewrite was savoring a trip down memory lane until he came upon this award.

Metal winner? Unless someone handed Mr. Rewrite a hunk of copper, nickel or tin, he won a medal for an awesome piƱata he and a classmate made for this parade.

It's more common to see writers confuse mettle (courage) with metal (e.g. Blogging daily about usage and grammar tests one's mettle.).


The week's tweets: 'mobil' services?

While he's having this burst of blogging energy, Mr. Rewrite will resume summing up tweets from the past week ...

In the photo above, this mobile glass-replacement firm apparently has mistaken itself for a service station.

Mr. Rewrite was proud of his contributions to Mashable's request for #canceledwebshows, suggestions of TV program names tweaked to have Web/social media themes:
  • "BFFy the Vampire Slayer"
  • "Rowan & Martin’s LinkedIn"
  • "The Odd Coupler"
  • "TAG" (spinoff of "JAG")"
  • "My Cousin URL"
  • "The Dick Van Like Show"
  • "Hawaii Five-2.0"
  • "Doogie Browser, M.D."
A few tweets illustrated how spelling counts:
  • This proper noun inconsistency turned Mr. Rewrite away from buying a pack of Myntz (not Mynts): pic.twitter.com/BNFqhvkM
  • A report says Nigerian scammers deliberately make spelling and grammar errors to weed out intelligent people: http://shar.es/tGizy
  • A misspelled name in a background check clears the way for felon to work with seniors: http://tinyurl.com/7f5rwkn
From the irony-in-education file:
And the potpourri file:
  • A Minnesota Twins pitcher (Manship, not Mansihp) falls victim to spelling error on his jersey: http://bit.ly/LLSRMl 
  • A cycling time trail at the London Olympics? That's what the tickets say: http://soc.li/6FS3V5E  
  • If ‪a spelling error by Google leaves a village off the map, does said village still exist? http://t.co/IiDULSxl


Mr. Rewrite would rather not have to post on this

The Penn State news of the past 24 hours can't be dealt with lightly. But Mr. Rewrite should note, while acknowledging the gravity of the news being conveyed, that the AP Stylebook calls for cover-up, not coverup, as a noun and adjective and cover up as a verb. So the Freeh report alleges that certain officials engaged in a cover-up, at least if a news organization bound by AP style is reporting it.


To whom should Mr. Rewrite address this gripe?

Hey rama! This Yahoo! blurb fails to follow Mr. Rewrite's First Rule of Who/Whom: If ever one feels like using whom, simply write around the problem or risk the wrath of mean-spirited and-or wannabe grammarians who live for the opportunity to savage writers over who/whom errors. Rewriting also helps because whom usually suggests that a passage is far from conversational. William Safire, as quoted by Bryan A. Garner in Garner's Modern American Usage, put it this way: "When whom is correct, recast the sentence."

In this case, the blurb would read better by getting rid of the unnecessary comma and the perceived need for whom or some substitute that would apply more elegantly to the word group:

The mayor calls out a group he blames for an eruption of violence in Chicago.

Or one could say:

The mayor calls out a group that he blames for an eruption of violence in Chicago.

Whatever the decision, who/whom only apply to human beings and not to entities created by human beings. In this case, the blurb is referring to gangs. While he would disagree, Mr. Rewrite supposes one could argue that whom applies because gangs consist of human beings. But the sentence reads horribly with whom. So eliminate it or write around it to keep the sentence conversational.


Time to tune up their AP style knowledge

Mr. Rewrite's summer editing work reinforces another AP style point: One tunes up (v.) a car, provides a tuneup (noun) or is a tuneup (adj.) mechanic.

In no case does AP allow tune-up. But that's how it appears in many, many articles by news organizations claiming to follow AP style. For example:

This appears to be an especially big problem for sports sections, which throw around the term along with countless other cliches.

Perhaps they could use an AP style tuneup.


Another redundancy -- again

Mr. Rewrite did a double take when he and Rewrite Jr. passed this sign on the way to a scary ride.

Entire duration? Since duration means the time that something lasts, per the Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, entire adds nothing but redundancy.


Mr. Rewrite puts 'crosshairs' in his cross hairs

Is there any news story these days that doesn't have the word crosshairs in the headline? Some examples:

  • Politico: Outsourcing in Senate's crosshairs
  • CNN: US Midwest in crosshairs of child sex trafficking fight
  • National Journal: Obama puts 'Romneycare' in crosshairs
  • Fortune: Why the FTC has hackers' victims in its crosshairs
  • CBS News: Public sector unions in crosshairs after the Wisconsin recall election
Besides being overused by a factor of 10 trillion, crosshairs violates AP style if one is bound by it.

The AP Stylebook doesn't have an entry, but Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, where AP turns on matters not covered in its stylebook, goes with cross hairs.

That's enough for Mr. Rewrite to put crosshairs in his cross hairs.


This error damages one's reputation

Unless the shopping carts at this Trader Joe’s are suing customers, they cause damage, not damages. The AP Stylebook and pretty much every other style/usage guide reserve damages for compensation that courts assign for injury or loss.