Flight. 35, No. 5: Firearms

Rifles and Assault Weapons

While we’ve generally been specific when it comes to weapons, it’s worth remembering the military term assault rifle and the term politicized assault weapon in our coverage.

An assault rifle is a weapon that, among other things, is capable of firing fully automatically. Examples are the M16, M4 and AK-47. Semi-automatic variants of the M16, generically referred to as AR-15 rifles, are not technically assault rifles although they are nearly identical in appearance. So unless a firearm really is an assault rifle, an acceptable sentence is assault rifle. In fact, we are also talking about a AR-15 style rifleif we do not know if it is in fact an AR-15.

An AR-15 style rifle on display in Houston.


patrick t. fallon/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

When it comes to assault weapons, there is no agreed definition, other than that they are semi-automatic firearms that share a number of characteristics with military weapons; more information on this term can be found in this 2016 Washington Wire. Our articles should use the term with caution when speaking in our own voice (politicians or others, of course, can be quoted using the term). If the article is about books legislation or legislation under consideration, we should refer to weapons described as assault weapons or for assault weapons.

Commas matter

We overuse commas in titles and with names, says editor Matt Murray. Use commas when the noun is an independent clause, but not otherwise. He specifies :

Bad: British leader Boris Johnson

To correct: British leader Boris Johnson

Where: British leader Boris Johnson

Where: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Where: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

And along the same lines, a reminder that commas are essential in many sentences referring to people, if someone is the only person with a certain status. For example, we write his son Robertif Robert is someone’s only child, but without a comma (his son Robert) if there are more than one. Or her husband, Jim Smith, (because without a comma it implies that there is another husband).

Always Turkey to us

This month, the UN honored Turkey’s request to be known as Türkiye, which is the country’s Turkish spelling. Apparently, the country’s rulers were never thrilled that Google searches for Turkey turned up images of large birds. The country is increasingly using Turkey in marketing.

But we agree with the Associated Press, whose editors say they will stick with Turkish for now as the English transliteration, and monitor the acceptance of Turkish spelling before deciding to change or not.

Decisions and Reminders
  • June 16 National Independence Day is the official name of the federal holiday which will be celebrated for the first time this year, on Monday, June 20. It commemorates the end of slavery in the United States in 1865. American financial markets will be closed for the first time and The Wall Street Journal print edition will not be published.
  • The new public used clothing company is Thred Up Inc. When it was a private company, we used its stylized capitalization of thredUP, but the stock name is officially ThredUp.
  • We spell close with a hyphen, not close-up. Close in a title.
  • Stocks don’t always “fall”. They too fall, fall, and other more sober verbs. Let the facts speak.
  • We spell it Marrakesh rather than Marrakech for the city in Morocco.
  • Investable is the preferred spelling of investable.
  • What about “direction of travel”, a popular expression? just say direction would do.
  • Sabewthe Society of Journalists, represents the Society for the Advancement of Business Publishing and Writing. It was formerly the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. And we render the acronym Sabew, rather than SABEW all caps, according to our rule for pronounceable proper name abbreviations longer than four letters, when we arbitrarily capitalize only the first letter.
Heads above the rest
  • “Does your Mayo need a mission?” by Erik Holm and Lisa Kalis.
  • “Great Adaptations”, by Heather Halberstadt, about a house built for the four seasons.
  • “Plot Twist! Movie Theaters Fear Lack of Popcorn Could Be a Spoiler” by Steve Yoder.
Heads that make you say ‘hmmm’
  • “The collaborator faces justice in his hometown.” A word about Hometown.
  • “The poor inflation reports raise the odds of a surprise rate hike by 0.75 percentage points this week.” Since high odds mean something is less probably do it Increase the Chances. (We’ve added an article on odds and this common misfire to the WSJ stylebook.)
Notifications above the rest

Here are some of the best mobile push alerts, both on WSJ’s native app and via Apple News. We aim to showcase the storytelling our editors do on locked screens, typically in 140 characters or less.

  • Americans act like it’s 2019
  • A multi-agency crackdown is underway to capture the fugitive behind a series of bloody attacks. He is three and a half feet tall and is known only as Tom.
  • The only city in America with more people in the office than anywhere else
  • Your birthday says 52 but your body says 37. Meet your “biological age”.
  • There are new rules on how to dress for weddings
  • A surgeon has lost all his savings. Others have given up on their dreams. All were swept away by crypto mania – and the crash.
Quiz (find the mistakes)
  1. First stop: A local auto repair shop in an up-and-coming Philadelphia neighborhood, where she must record the full cost of a rear brake job, wheel bearing shell assembly replacement, and replacement complete with brakes.
  2. Looking like a stick of white gum with buttons, it said it’s lightweight and there’s no screen to break.
  3. The Food and Drug Administration launched an investigation and on-site inspection, noting earlier findings that detected the bacteria in the plant.
  4. One Bortac agent fired at their shield as they entered and a second was injured by shrapnel.
  5. Analysts say in both cases billions of dollars were lost to corruption, which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, has since sought to rule.
  1. A wheel bearing center assembly, that is.
  2. To avoid the dangler, it may be enough to move the attribution: Resembling a stick of white gum with buttons, it’s lightweight and there’s no screen to break, he said.
  3. We use a hyphen in on the site (as good as Offsite).
  4. To him or her shield, that is. Our stylebook says that the singular “they” (or their) is still not good grammar, except in specific reference to someone using neutral pronouns.
  5. The Royals rule, but they (and everyone else) rein in corruption and other things.

Send your questions or comments to William Power and Jennifer Hicks.

ISSN 1054-7041

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