How about the name of the springs: Wekiva or Wekiwa?
What is the proper name of the zoo in Sanford?
These and other local tidbits have been collected in The Sanford Herald’s new local style guide, a reference manual for our staff to help bring accuracy and consistency to things in print.
Most newspapers adhere to the style established by the Associated Press. In addition, many papers create their own local stylebooks to cover people, places and things in the community not mentioned in the AP book.
In a time when people generally use shortcuts for e-mails, and use a lot of abbreviations for texting, some may say that proper language style, punctuation, capitalization and spelling is not so important – as long as the message is conveyed.
That may be the evolving case in casual conversation, but style is important when you’re trying to project a serious or thoughtful impression about something.
How often have you seen a misprint on a restaurant menu and thought: Can’t they even spell “broccoli” correctly?
I saw one local eatery recently offering to serve “Chile.” And on 95 percent of the menus I see, Dr Pepper is spelled incorrectly with a period.
Lighten up, you say?
That’s hard to do in the newspaper business when we at least strive to get it right.
(OK…here’s the lighter side of “style.” There is a FakeAPStylebook on Twitter that lists bogus style entries such as: “Catwoman” is the Batman villain. “Cat Woman” is your neighbor whose apartment smells funny.)
A few months ago I wrote that we were creating our own stylebook at the Herald. I mentioned some of the more commonly seen local mistakes, such as improperly writing RiverWalk, Seminole Towne Center and Auto Train.
At the time, one reader even suggested that we put the stylebook on our website when it was complete.
Thanks, Margie Chusmir. We’re now ready to do that.
We compiled the guide for our own use, but we’re also putting it on online for anyone who may want to use it as a reliable source for writing business reports, term papers, news releases or other compositions. If you’re looking for a proper spelling of something, I would recommend not relying on the first hit you may find on the Internet. If you’ve ever looked for anything online, you have seen how words can be mangled.
Starting this weekend, our guide can be found at www.MySanfordHerald.com. When you go to our website, scroll down near the bottom of the left column and look for “Stylebook.” Click on that link. (If you haven’t already done so, you will need to register to access the website.)
This will be an ever-evolving guide. Entries will be added, altered and deleted as needed.
Steve Harmon, a colleague of mine when we both worked at the Orlando Sentinel, used to say: “Style is like a river – It’s always changing.”
When I recently told him that I was compiling the Herald’s own stylebook, he advised: “Do it in pencil, because it's likely to change.”
I call it a book, but it is just 10 pages long at the moment. It includes names, companies, government agencies, geography, word usage and other things, some that are common and others that may be a little different, unusual or confusing, such as “Two Blondes & a Shrimp” restaurant in Sanford; “Bonefish Grill” in Longwood and “FishBones” in Lake Mary; not using SSC in reference to Seminole State College, and when to use Tuscawilla or Tuskawilla.
As I mentioned, these are generally local entries, not the type of thing you would find in the AP Stylebook, such as:
• Do not use the term “first annual.” An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held at least two successive years.
• Jell-O – A trademark for a brand of gelatin dessert.
• On ships and naval stations ashore, flags are flown at half-mast. Elsewhere ashore, flags are flown at half-staff.
• squinting modifer – A misplaced adverb that can be interpreted as modifying either of two words: Those who lie often are found out. Place the adverb where there can be no confusion, even if a compound verb must be split: Those who often lie are found out. Or if that was not the sense: Those who lie are often found out.
Anyway, after you read through our guide, please let us know if you can think of anything local that should be added to our guide.
One thing we wanted to add, but didn’t have a definitive source for, was the word “bokey,” an occasional nickname of Sanford. Where did it come from? Is it capitalized? What does it mean? If you have some documentation about the word, send me a note.
In the meantime, check out our stylebook – and find out whether it is Lake Jesup or Jessup.
Comments can be sent to Herald publisher Gene Kruckemyer at GKruckemyer@MySanfordHerald.com.