Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is it online or on-line?

Right now, I am finishing a 1500-word article about Matt Genovese, the founder of door64.com, for publication in October. After completing the first draft, Matt and I are debating the merits of the correct spelling of online. My computer dictionary suggests "on line," while the St. Martin's Handbook I used in my business communication course dictate "online." However, the AP style guide suggests that this term is a compound adjective resulting in the use of "on-line" if the word is used as a modifier. I wish that all three sources could agree upon one correct spelling of the word. And, I know that won't happen either. In a perfect world, I see a room of English professors sitting in a room, discussing the correct spelling of the word while sipping a good sherry. Funded by a federal grant, these bastions of English style will help us clarify the correct usage of a word.

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