RECENT HINTS regarding abbreviations drew a fun—and thoughtful—response from my friend Jerry Bellune. Here’s his note:
Ed: When one of our “supts” was hauled before the school board for excessive bad judgment and given the ax (how’s that for another cliche?), I was tempted to write:
but common sense prevailed.
If you want something to rant about, try digits and %s.
The arbitrary masters of the AP stylebook (who says the AP has style?) want us to spell out numbers up to nine, use digits above that and spell out “percent.”
But in headlines, particularly “one” column headlines, we can use digits and %. Then why not in text, too?
Good points, Jerry. Even at its best, AP style often seems arbitrary and capricious. That’s why many newspapers create their own addendum to the AP Stylebook (why can’t it be “AP Style Book”?).
Oh…and look at that last sentence. It ends with four pieces of punctuation. Wowwwww.