April 3, 2003: Issue 55
SIM STYLE: Stand-alone cities
We recently updated the CITIES section of the SIM Stylebook, based on current usage. Some cities were removed from the list, meaning they should usually be followed with the appropriate state designation. Others were added, meaning that in most cases the city name itself is sufficiently clear. Here’s a breakdown of what changed.
CITIES ADDED TO STAND-ALONE LIST:
• Baton Rouge
• Beverly Hills
• Fort Worth
• Key West
• Little Rock
• St. Petersburg
• Santa Barbara
CITIES REMOVED FROM STAND-ALONE LIST:
• Atlantic City
• Jersey City
• Kuwait City
• Panama City
See the complete list of stand-alone cities.
GRAMMAR: Doesn’t “couple” always get an “of” after it?
No, not always. When the word “couple” quantifies another modifier, drop the “of.”
incorrect: The rug was a bargain at a couple of hundred bucks.
correct: The rug was a bargain at a couple hundred bucks.
Grammatically, were the “of” being used, it would belong after the second modifier, anyway—in this case, “couple hundred of bucks.” But the idiom has evolved without it, and “couple” is perfectly fine on its own in this usage.
Note: In some uses, “couple” serves to define a single amount, not individual units, and most often shows up in conversation without the “of.” In other words, “a couple minutes” refers to one period of time, not individual minutes; “a couple bucks” refers to one amount of money, not individual dollars. While most of us would drop the “of” in speech without giving it a second thought, doing so in writing can be jarring. Most readers have learned to expect to see it. In this usage, including “of” is not grammatically incorrect, so if it improves sentence flow, leave it in.