March 2, 2015

Three Types of Verbs

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Understanding verb types is more than memorizing labels like "transitive" and "linking." It helps you understand why it's "I feel bad" and not "I feel badly" and whether you can "graduate college" instead of "graduate from college." Here's a quick look at three major verb categories.

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A Sign of 'The Times'
Posted by June on March 2, 2015
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Sometimes it seems like a good chunk of my day is spent lowercasing the T in the word “The.”

In Las Vegas articles and marketing pieces, I lowercase it in “the Strip.” In articles about shopping centers I might lowercase it in “the Forum Shops.” Whenever there’s mention of “the New Yorker,” “the New Republic” or “the Atlantic,” down it goes.

Why? Because that’s the style at the Los Angeles Times. Specifically, the style rule is this: Whenever a proper noun that begins with the word “The” appears in running text, lowercase the t for aesthetic reasons.  And when you spend some time looking at the alternatives, you can see the logic in this. In uppercase, all those Ts would look self-conscious and obtrusive. They really do interrupt the visual flow of the text.

The companies being mentioned, of course, don’t like this one bit. We’re “The” Cosmopolitan or “The” Forum Shops, they'd insist. They’re all about brands and trademarks and property, after all. But they can’t dictate how other people capitalize their names, so newspapers like the Los Angeles Times are free to make decisions that they believe put readers first, lowercasing “the” in order to make the passage more visually palatable.

I’m all for that, barring one little bit of irony. The newspaper does make an exception: There’s one name that does, in Times style, always use a capital T in "The." And that name is ... you guessed it: The Times. Not the New York Times, mind you. In the Los Angeles Times, the East Coast paper would be “the Times” (though because that would be confusing their whole name is usually spelled out). Only when it’s a reference to the Los Angeles Times does The Times start with a capital T.

So in running text, it's the Forum Shops, the Standard, the Anythingyoucanthinkof, but The Times.

June Casagrande is a writer and journalist whose weekly grammar/humor column, “A Word, Please,” appears in community newspapers in California, Florida, and Texas. more

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