Ed’s Weblog

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A question of style

Posted by Ed on September 5, 2003

Following Charl’s rant the other day about begging the question, and previous discussions on the correct placement of apostrophes, I decided to check the style guides. My favourite is, of course, the Guardian’s, for its political correctness:

Use positive language about disability, avoiding outdated terms that stereotype or stigmatise. Terms to avoid, with acceptable alternatives in brackets, include victim of, crippled by, suffering from, afflicted by (prefer person who has, person with); wheelchair bound, in a wheelchair (wheelchair user); invalid (disabled person); mentally handicapped, backward, retarded, slow (person with a learning disability); the disabled, the handicapped, the blind, the deaf (disabled people, blind people, deaf people); deaf and dumb (deaf and speech-impaired, hearing and speech-impaired).

The Economist also has a guide, which reflects its preference for plain speaking:

Avoid, where possible, euphemisms and circumlocutions promoted by interest-groups. In most contexts the hearing-impaired are simply deaf.

The BBC has also introduced a guide for its journalists, which can be found here.

There remains only one question to answer now. How many faux-pas have I just made?

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