A Brief Quiz 

Rosie Right

What is a cognitor?

A) a statue of a man thinking
B) a reptile
C) a suggested new title for some accountants who pass a special exam

According to the New York Times, C is the correct answer. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants is trying to persuade the nation's CPAs to accept the new designation, which lawyers, consultants and other professionals could qualify for by taking an exam.

Leaving aside the professional fight about the need for more credentials, Rosie agrees with Arthur W. Bowman, editor of Bowman's Accounting Report in Atlanta. The New York Times (April 5) quoted him as commenting on the new term:

"What do you think of? I think of some pterodactyl-type dinosaur swooping over the mountaintops."

Welcome spring (Spring?)

A reader has called to mourn the increasing tendency of writers to capitalize the seasons of the year. She says she sees this often in print. Not to do so is one of the lessons she learned well in school.

This is one of those wonderful times when the rules seem to be perfectly clear. Rosie consulted the AP Stylebook. The editors write: "Lowercase spring, summer fall, winter and derivatives such as springtime unless part of a formal name."

Is this just one of those idiosyncratic AP rules?

Not at all: Frederick Crews in the Random House Handbook, Sixth Edition, says, "Capitalize a day of the week, a month, or a holiday but not a season or the numerical part of a date."

If we stop to think of the logic of this rule, we can soon become bewildered. Why capitalize the names of weekdays or months but not seasons?

Logic aside, Rosie actually finds it rather nice to find something so clearly dictated by a rule.

Talk the Talk
Sewist, noun — According to The Word Spy, a Web site that discusses new terms, sewist means "A person who sews." The background for this new noun is "a gender-neutral replacement for the older term 'seamstress'"

Dead ringer, noun — "An automatically dialed telemarketing call that when answered is immediately hung up by the device that placed the call, because no salesperson is available at the moment. Also called abandoned call, phantom phone call." Source: Word Watch by Anne H. Soukhanov in The Atlantic online.

Let Rosie hear from you by telephone (358-0825), letter (1707 Summit Ave, Suite 201, Richmond Va. 23230), fax (355-9089) or e-mail repps@styleweekly.com


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