no more mike…

December 20, 2015

Washington PostThe English language is a creature that just won’t stop morphing. As speakers and writers, we continually adapt, sometimes reluctantly, to fads that become trends that become rules that eventually change. The challenge of speaking the language of an audience is especially acute for newspapers and other media, which regularly update their style guides to reflect the latest “rules.”

Bill Walsh, an author and copy editor who writes about language in his own books and in The Washington Post, notes some of the Post’s style decisions in his article, “The Post drops the ‘mike’ — and the hyphen in ‘e-mail’.” If you’ve been struggling with “open mike” versus “open mic,” the Post has now drawn their line in the sand. That doesn’t mean that other media will follow suit, but it may offer you some comfort if mic is your preferred spelling.

Along with other style changes, Walsh calls attention to the Post’s decision to accept the use of the singular “they” in place of the awkward “he or she” or other gender-neutral language — a decision which will no doubt generate many rounds of discussion in the months to come.

Read about the changes in The Washington Post.

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