A reminder that as of Feb. 1, Walmart Inc. is the legal name for the retailer (and component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average) that has long been known as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The company prefers the look of Walmart in the e-commerce era.
If this sounds anticlimactic, that is because the company has already been using Walmart on its signage. But the legal name of the company and the stock had remained Wal-Mart Stores, so that is how we had been referring to both. Some readers have thought we were spelling it incorrectly, but until a company legally changes its name, we stick with the original.
(Incidentally, for history buffs, the company says its formal legal name when it incorporated in 1969 was Wal-Mart Inc. It was changed to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. the next year, when the stock went public, and has stayed that way for 47 years—even though the stylized Walmart logo has been used since 2008.)
However, as of Feb. 1, all this becomes moot for this company. Walmart it is, whether referring to the company, the stock or a store.
Several financial exchanges have recently changed their names, or the names of units—reflecting the nonstop mergers among exchanges. Our explainers and footnotes in our stock-price tables have been updated.
● The CBOE, as we noted in the last issue of S&S, is now Cboe Global Markets (with no "the" since it is no longer an acronym), or just Cboe (pronounced see-bo) for short. Its options-trading unit, which had long been called the Chicago Board Options Exchange, is now Cboe Options Exchange, or just Cboe Options for short.
● There is no BATS or Bats, after its acquisition by Cboe. A stock-trading unit of Cboe that had been Bats BZX Exchange is now called BZX Equities.
● Nasdaq OMX BXSM, the former Boston Stock Exchange, is now Nasdaq BX.
● The National Stock Exchange is NYSE National.
● NYSE MKT is NYSE American (a nod to the old American Stock Exchange).
● ISE is now Nasdaq ISE.
A storm of hyperbole
Weather reporting has always slipped into overdone verbiage, but it seems to be getting worse. "Is it just me or has weather hyperbole overtaken the news business?" asks Executive Editor Matt Murray. The latest frightening term is "bomb cyclone," which forecasters and writers latched on to this week instead of a less-frightening term, such as severe winter storm. (Though it sounds like a weather war, "bomb" is simply short for bombogenesis, meaning a storm that rapidly intensifies.)
We are making the capitalization rule on God/gods clearer in the stylebook. Basically, if it is a reference to one actual God, spell it uppercase. Only lowercase for plural gods, expressions that refer to a metaphorical god, like "making money his god," and expressions that aren't actually about any god at all, like "god-awful."
And yes, as the headline here shows, expressions like Oh, God take a comma. From the book:
gods and goddesses
Capitalize God in references to the deity of all monotheistic religions. Capitalize all noun references to the deity: God the Father, Holy Ghost, Holy Spirit, etc., including expressions such as Oh, my God. Lowercase personal pronouns: he, him, thee, thou.
Lowercase the words gods and goddesses in references to the deities of multitheistic religions, or phrases such as god-awful.
See religious references.
Rulings & reminders
● An artsy note on Leonardo da Vinci: As readers pointed out when he was in the news, he is properly Leonardo on second reference, since he didn't have a given name (da Vinci means "from Vinci"). However, it is still all right, and in fact useful, to refer to a da Vinci painting.
● Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. is the first reference to the real-estate firm or its stock, which uses JLL as its brand. JLL can be used as a second reference.
● We spell naloxone lowercase. The opioid-overdose antidote is generic. The brand name, Narcan, is uppercase.
● Special counsel, since it is an occupational description, is lowercase before a name. So, special counsel Robert Mueller.
● The word incident shouldn't be used for a major event or any accident that causes serious injury or death. Anything that causes death, injury, notable damage and the like isn't an incident.
● The phrase "with au jus" has made its way into articles about food, but the "with" isn't needed. After all, au jus already means, roughly, "with gravy." Still, Americans might feel naked in just saying au jus. One solution, if we're going to keep the phrase, is to replace the "with" with "served"—served au jus for dunking.
We uppercase Ethereum when referring to the bitcoin rival's platform/network and ether when referring to the currency used on the platform.
Some users will call the currency itself Ethereum, in which case, keep it uppercase. But the best use is ether as the unit of the currency. So: He paid five ether, or if used in this way, Ethereum rose 2%. That's different from bitcoin, where the same word can always be used to reference the platform or currency, but we chose to keep all references lowercase, hewing to the style we use for currencies.
Heads above the rest
● "Australian Mining Picks Away at Gender Gap," by Neil Western and Rachel Pannett.
●"The 'Drop' That Enraged Pittsburgh," a riff on the Dr. J classic, "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh," by Jason Gay on his column.
Heads that make you go 'hmmm'
● "Three Killed in New Mexico School Shooting." A shooter killed two people, and then he died. But the headline gives the imagery of three innocent people being shot. In such cases, don't include the shooter in the death count. The shooter was killed at the scene but not part of the "shooting."
● "One Fewer Senate Vote Could Mean More Headaches for GOP." One Less, that is. We use less for singular-count nouns (one less, but two fewer).
● "Amtrak Train Derails in Washington State/Injuries and Casualties Reported, With Numbers to Come, According to Pierce County Sherriff." An injury is a casualty, though many of us incorrectly think that only deaths are casualties.
● "Watch Out VIX: Nasdaq Amps Up Volatility Game." Nice headline, but we needed a comma after the Watch Out.
The latest on 'the latest'
We oversue the term. "The vote—the latest in a series of momentous elections," or "the latest attack aimed at," or "the latest in a series of major elections" or "the latest example of a strange phenomenon." As with any overused word or term, it starts to sound weak when used over and over.
Often it can be replaced with a phrase such as "part of a." Nearly as overused is "earlier," as in earlier this year. Often it isn't needed.
Quiz (find the flubs)
1. “The commission said, ‘That’s okay, it’s okay for a baker who supports same-sex marriage to refuse to create a cake with a message that is opposed to same-sex marriage,’ ” Justice Alito said.
2. She could barely understand him, something about Devin and heroin. “No. That can’t be real,” she said. “Oh, god. Oh, god.’ ”
3. So-called “paid prioritization” deals could be challenged by antitrust regulators if they are done to limit competition, rather than to pay for the cost of managing high-speed connections.
4. Larry was comfortable with fewer acres and less debt.
5. Such incidents typically involve a panicked family member or friend who can't find their loved one.
1. OK, not okay, in WSJ style.
2. Uppercase God when referring to a single deity: Oh, God. Oh, God. (See item above.)
3. Either use so-called, or put a phrase in quotes, but no need to do both.
4. We use "fewer" rather than "less" for things that are countable, one by one, like peanuts on a table or people in a room. But acres, miles, minutes and other measurements are fluid—lots of stops along the way between whole numbers. Thus, less acres or less acreage would be preferable.
5. This singular "their" could be avoided by pluralizing the subject or by his or her.
Send questions or comments to William Power and Jennifer Hicks. Editor emeritus Paul Martin is at [email protected]