Shaking up the spelling bee
The biggest spelling bee in the country, the Scripps National Spelling Bee, is introducing a major change to its proceedings. Instead of just knowing how to spell preposterous words, contestants will also have to know their definitions.
If you ask us, for those who have trained for years just on the proper spelling of words, the change is bound to be like a field full of guetapens (the word that propelled last year’s winner, Snigdha Nandipati, to victory).
The reason behind the change:
"It represents a deepening of the bee’s commitment to its purpose," Director Paige Kimble told USA Today, "to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives."
Read more from reporter Karin Klein’s rundown of the changes.
Photos: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images, Erik Hill/Anchorage Daily News/MCT, Fred Watkins / ABC, Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press
AP pronounces them wife and wife
With a changing in cultural norms comes a change in the Associated Press’ style. After outrage arose following a leaked memo revealing that the longstanding news organization was advising writers to refer to married gay couples as “partners,” instead of husbands or wives.
The new entry in the style book under “husband, wife” reads:
Regardless of sexual orientation, ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. ‘Spouse’ or ‘partner’ may be used if requested.
Villaraigosa’s legacy rides on transit plan: The Los Angeles mayor wants voters to help break the impasse over his bid to more swiftly build a rail network.
Graphic: Transit vision for Southland. Credit: Los Angeles Times
“to more swiftly build”?
That construction makes me gag, LATimes. How about “over his bid to build a rail network faster”?
The debate over split infinitives rages on.
On a personal note, I think “to more swiftly build a rail network” sounds clearer than “to build a rail network faster.” It’s nice when the modifier (“more swiftly”) is next to the word it’s modifying (“build”). But I suppose that’s debatable. [Edit: And of course I forgot to put the apostrophe in “it’s.” Inevitable, really.]
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