I just got off the phone with a caller who was confused by a Web address that appeared in a photo caption in today’s Chow Town print section.
It read: “Chow Town readers can get the recipe for Harvey House Chocolate Puffs free until Jan. 27 at bit.ly/ctharvey.”
But try it yourself: Navigate to bit.ly/ctharvey. You get the error page for Bitly, a popular URL shortener.
That’s because when typing in exactly what’s written, many readers would understandably end the address with the period. That’s the problem. The address itself is simply bit.ly/ctharvey That directs you to the recipe for the dessert here.
I have long argued that any time a sentence ends with a Web or email address, the final period should be omitted. In my mind, they aren’t really words of English, but rather their own language. Copy editors disagree with me on that one.
I keep next to my keyboard “Tips for Tighter Writing,” a list put together by a particularly gifted editor who used to work at The Star. Its final piece of advice is my favorite:
“If any of these suggestions make you wrote something unclear or barbarous, ignore them.”
I think this is an example where the “rule” should be chucked.