Wick Communications

Voicemail and whisky. Or whiskey.

In Writing on 11 Feb 2016 at 5:46 pm
New York Public Library Digital Collections

New York Public Library Digital Collections

Most of us old-schoolers think of annual AP Stylebook updates. Every year, the Associated Press comes out with a new version in book form, and sometimes they include dozens of changes. But, in reality, the style guide that we all use is constantly evolving. Those who subscribe to the online version get their updates on the fly. Because it’s important if a whiskey (or whisky) rebellion breaks out.

I want to thank former Half Moon Bay Review Publisher Debra Hershon for sending along the latest changes. Here you go:

  • Media: Generally takes a plural verb, especially when the reference is to individual outlets. Media are lining up for and against the proposal. Sometimes used with a singular verb when referring to media as a monolithic group: Media is the biggest force in a presidential campaign.
  • Mescal: Clear liquor from Mexico made from a variety of agave plants. (new entry)
  • Horchata: Spanish and Mexican drink made by steeping nuts, seeds and grains, and served cool. (new entry)
  • nearshore waters: (new entry to show nearshore is one word)
  • notorious, notoriety: Some understand these terms to refer simply to fame; others see them as negative terms, implying being well-known because of evil actions. Be sure the context for these words is clear, or use terms like famous, prominent, infamous, disreputable, etc. (new entry)
  • online petitions: Be cautious about quoting the number of signers on such petitions. Some sites make it easy for the person creating the petition or others to run up the number of purported signers by clicking or returning to the page multiple times. (new entry) …

  • spokesman, spokeswoman, spokesperson: Use spokesperson if it is the preference of an individual or an organization. (adds spokesperson to entry). OK, this is one we won’t follow at the Half Moon Bay Review. It just doesn’t make sense to me… I can’t understand why anyone would prefer the gender-neutral term. Thoughts?
  • voicemail: (now one word)
  • whisky, whiskey: Class of liquor distilled from grains. Includes bourbon, rye and Irish whiskey. Use spelling whisky only in conjunction with Scotch whisky, Canadian whisky and Japanese whisky. (adds Japanese whisky to those spelled whisky).

This last one is by far the most interesting of the new entries. Here’s an explanation of the whisky/whiskey thing I found on masterofmalt.com.

The spelling of whisky, or whiskey, differs geographically. As a rule, American and Irish prefer “whiskey” and the Scots, Canadians and the rest of the world’s single malt makers prefer ‘whisky’. This originated during the 19th century. For in around 1870, Scotch whisky was of very low quality, much of it being distilled poorly in Coffey stills. For exportation to America, the Irish distillers wanted to differentiate their product from the poorer Scotch whisky, thus they added the ‘e’ to mark the crucial distinction. Today, Scotch whisky has become one of the world’s greatest spirits, but the spelling still differs. On mass, Americans still spell their spirit with an ‘e’, though legally it is spelt “whisky.” A few distillers, Maker’s Mark and George Dickel for example, prefer the Scottish spelling, this is to be attributed to their Scottish ancestry.

I can’t vouch for any of that. I prefer whisky. … To drink, I mean.




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