A Matter of Style 

It was a Wednesday evening at Weekly World Headquarters, and I had a question.

Catherine O'Sullivan had just turned in her column--the one you can read for yourself on Page 6--in which she discussed javelinas. Or, javelina, as she used the plural.

Hmm. Does the plural of javelina have an "s" or not?

Of course, javelina(s) don't have an entry in The Associated Press Stylebook, seeing as you don't find many peccaries roaming New York City, where the AP has its headquarters. So I looked the word up in the dictionary, and it was no help at all. Therefore, I decided to check the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's Web site. After all, if anybody knows about Southwestern wildlife, it's the Desert Museum, right?

Well, on one part of Desert Museum Web site, it has the plural without an "s": Javelina have poor vision, relying instead on their sense of smell. Great! There's only one problem: On another part of the Web site, it has the plural with an "s": Javelinas in the same herd rub together a lot. (Strangely enough, that quote came from the kids' section of the Web site. OK then!)

Having exhausted all the resources available to me (at least the ones I was willing to search out on a Wednesday night when I was tired and abnormally cranky because of weird holiday deadlines), I took a newsroom poll. And we all agreed.

From now on, the Official Tucson Weekly Style is that the plural of javelina is javelinas, with an "s."

If you don't like this ... well, whatever you do, don't write about javelinas for the Weekly. Deal?

More by Jimmy Boegle


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