On the matter of a Higgs boson ...

Until now, Mr. Rewrite postulated that attention to grammar, a stylebook and the dictionary held the universe together. That left him quite depressed about the state of the universe.

Now the newspaper tells him that something called a Higgs boson does the job. Mr. Rewrite has included a picture of one above. One may have to squint to make it out.

Well, guess what: Attention to grammar, style and a dictionary holds the Higgs boson together, at least in media accounts.

Mr. Rewrite is seeing too many references to a Higg's boson, especially in headlines (see below). It's named after a fellow named Higgs, so any possessive would have an apostrophe after the S. But there is no possessive.

Mr. Rewrite also has detected confusion about whether Higgs boson is hyphenated, whether the B is capitalized, etc.

Here's the deal: While there's no AP Stylebook entry on the matter (Mr. Rewrite's first physics pun!), Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, which AP consults on matters not addressed in its stylebook, goes with Higgs boson. Journalists and wannabe journalists should as well.


venusv said...

Thanks for always getting it right! I loved your pun, so here's a joke for you. Higgs boson goes into a church. The priest says, "I'm sorry, we can't accept a particle in church. You'll need to find a science lab." Higgs boson says, "But you can't have mass without me!"

Mr. Rewrite said...

Great joke. Mr. Rewrite will share it.