The New York Times remains a stout defender of proper English, even if its sports pages insists on using the ghastly American word "winningest" for the most successful teams (I'm not joking about that, as this story shows).
This week an edict was sent out to their writers from the NYT's "standards editor" banning the use of the verb and noun "tweet". Outside of an ornithological context, that is.
"Tweet", according to their style guru Phil Corbett, "has not yet achieved the status of standard English ... except for special effect, we try to avoid colloquialisms, neologisms and jargon. And 'tweet', referring to messages on Twitter, is all three".
He goes on to suggest "deft, English alternatives" such as "use Twitter or write on Twitter". One day, he concedes, "tweet" may become as common as "e-mail", but then again it may fade into oblivion. "It doesn’t help that the word itself seems so inherently silly," he writes.
I think Mr Corbett may be my favourite American. Now if only he can change their rule on "winningest"...
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