New AP Stylebook

The 2007 AP Stylebook is out. A post on the Testy Copy Editors board describes some of the new and deleted entries. There is also an article in Editor&Publisher.


Dive vs. delve

I often see dive and delve used almost interchangeably when writing about exploring a topic. For me, though, the words' meanings are not interchangeable.

First, there is dive. If a person or group is diving into a topic, they are entering into it. Dive was derived from a word that means "to dip."

Second, there is delve. If a person or a group is delving into a topic, they are digging deeper into it. Delve was derived from a word that means "to dig."

So, for instance, if a legislative body is meeting to discuss a topic for the first time, it is diving into the topic. If, however, it meets repeatedly to discuss a topic, it is delving into that topic.

Go ahead and delve into the meaning of the sentence when dive and delve come up.

A hyphen too many per diem

There are times when hyphens do not belong in modifiers. Per diem is one of those phrases that does not need a hyphen, even when used as a modifier. So the phrase "A per diem charge" does not require a hyphen.

I would allow that error per diem, but not more.

Of course, there are other schools of thought on hyphens, and that means that there are other compound modifiers that some would hyphenate and others would not. I am sure that there are more phrases that the dictionary lists as adjectives, which would not need to be hyphenated.