Sunday, February 28, 2010


AP Stylebook entry

that (conjunction) Use the conjunction that to introduce a dependent clause if the sentence sounds or looks awkward without it. There are no hard-and-fast rules, but in general:

–That usually may be omitted when a dependent clause immediately follows a form of the verb to say: The president said he had signed the bill.

–That should be used when a time element intervenes between the verb and the dependent clause: The president said Monday that he had signed the bill.

–That usually is necessary after some verbs. They include: advocate, assert, contend, declare, estimate, make clear, point out, propose and state.

–That is required before subordinate clauses beginning with conjunctions such as after, although, because, before, in addition to, until and while: Haldeman said that after he learned of Nixon’s intention to resign, he sought pardons for all connected with Watergate.

When in doubt, include that. Omission can hurt. Inclusion never does.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


" The identifications of the two sailors were withheld pending notification of next of kin."
"pending notification of next of kin" is standard news-writing boilerplate =
One argument against this:
There may be examples on Google news, but I believe in Florida, where public records law requires this information be released, this is just lazy reporting. Unless someone is still in danger or they are secret special operation soldiers or killed in active military operations, the reporter should be able to get the names and I believe the paper should publish them.

Dr. R's Response:
I am not sure this is true – police do not have to release anything until the case is complete – and they would argue it is not complete until kin are notified. And ethically, as a journalist, you would go ahead and i.d. the dead before their families were officially notified? How would you like to read about the death of a loved one from the media?
I believe at its essence, journalistic ethics boils down to the dictum followed by the medical profession: 


Friday, February 12, 2010

Ampersand vs. Asperand

Ampersand: The sign: & This figure for the word “and” came to be created over time. It is a ligature (a binding of two or more letters into one) of the “e” and “t” in the latin word “et” (“and”).

Asperand: One of the many names for the figure @. More often, it’s called the “at sign.” Again it’s a ligature, created originally by accountants, from the first letters of the words “at” and “each” (the circle over the “a” stands for the “e” in “each”). There is some controversy over the origin of this sign, and the word “asperand” is so rare that you won’t find it in many dictionaries.

Some people say “asperand” when they mean &, and some people say “ampersand” when they mean @.