Pragmatics of authors-name order

Lesa Dill lesa.dill at WKU.EDU
Tue Feb 24 19:49:15 UTC 2004

Well, standard capitalization according to which discipline? Science does some
wierd things there too.  A lot of scientific styles require only the first
word of the title and proper nouns to be capitalized.  That can really look
strange, I'd agree, especially when the style omits the quotation marks or
underlining.  In that case, no matter how much I know that punctuation is
right, the sentence looks substandard to me.
I agree that a lot of times prescriptions are appropriate and absolutely
necessary.  What's crazy is when the prescriptions disagree! Makes one have to
have a split personality of sorts.

"Arnold M. Zwicky" wrote:

> On Feb 24, 2004, at 8:20 AM, RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:
> > I certainly agree with Arnold that it is too simple merely to assume
> > that a
> > multiply-authored article or book is "really" the work of the first
> > author and
> > that the others "just helped" a bit. However, it does seem more than a
> > little
> > PRESCRIPTIVE of Dr. Zwicky to call the practice a "vulgar error" that
> > requires
> > "correction"--especially given the common practice of citing works
> > with "et
> > al."
> i have no problem with "N et al." (taking a plural verb form when it's
> a subject).  i objected to references to the first author's name only
> (taking a singular verb form when it's a subject).  this is simply
> wrong.
> there are plenty of places in life where prescriptions are entirely
> appropriate.  i'm going to object if you refer to "the Linguistics
> Society of America" (or, for that matter, to "the Berkeley Linguistic
> Society"), for example, and i'm going to insist on standard spelling
> (and capitalization, even!) in academic publications.
> arnold (zwicky at, who objects when addressed as
>    "Alfred" or "Dr. Zwinky", as has happened during the past week

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