Monday, October 31, 2005

Clay versus / v. / vs. the stylebook

What's the deal with the AP Stylebook entry on "versus," anyway?

You're supposed to spell it out in most situations and us "v." for court cases. Therefore, you'd write about "his plan for peeling potatoes versus her plan for making coleslaw." You would cover continuing controversy about "Roe v. Wade."

That's right. "Roe v. Wade."

Who actually, in their everyday life, uses the word this way? Doesn't just about everyone use "vs."? Wouldn't you use "vs."? I know I would. So why does the Associated Press do this? I doubt many AP people follow it.

I'm cranky and traditionalist in many areas. But I don't see what we gain by avoiding the use of "vs." (Yes, I know AP allows it in short expressions; that's not enough.) Let common sense and common usage prevail.