Online/on-line: from the authorities

Subject: Online/on-line: from the authorities
From: G Weiss <weissg -at- DIAL -dot- EUNET -dot- CH>
Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 10:06:23 +0200


Another ex-lurker here, offline while I was finding my bearings in Europe,
back because I missed the helpfulness of the list--it's, well, cheerful.

Anyway, a couple of authoritative stands on how to style online/on-line:

The Microsoft Manual of Style, Microsoft Press, Redmond WA, 1995
online (adj, adv)
"One word in all instances" [p. 169]

The Atlantic Monthly
"In September of '94 we started closing it up."
[from the newsletter "Copy Editor," February/March 1996, p. 6]

The Associated Press
"Previously the wire service used on-line for the adjective and on line for
the adverb. 'It was determined that this was the more popular use,
especially within the computer communications industry itself,' says Norm
Goldstein, editor of _The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel
Manual_....The 1996 edition of the A.P. stylebook, now at the printer, will
contain the change (for ordering information call 212-621-1820)."
[from the newsletter "Copy Editor," April/May 1996, p. 2]

The August/September 1996 issue of "Copy Editor" compared two new style
guides [pp. 1, 6]:

Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age, Hard Wired,
415-276-5249, $17.95: e.g., email, offline, online

CyberDictionary: Your Guide to the Wired World, Knowledge Exchange,
310-394-5995, $17.95: e.g., E-mail, off-line, on-line

and provided a summary of a discussion by 45 magazine copy editors on the
issue of Internet style [p. 6].

(For the record: I have no affiliation with "Copy Editor" except as a
subscriber. But I do find it an invaluable resource as an up-to-date
supplement to my bound style guides. You can get more info about it at; the editor is Mary Beth Protomastro,
marybeth -at- copyeditor -dot- com)


Giselle Weiss
Basel, Switzerland
weissg -at- dial -dot- eunet -dot- ch

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