taxons and orthography

Edward J. Cushing cushing at TC.UMN.EDU
Thu Mar 9 13:55:45 CST 2000

>From the messages in this thread, I conclude that editors do indeed have a
useful function.

The Council of Biology Editors (CBE) manual "Scientific style and format,"
6th edition (1994), p. 423, says, concerning plant nomenclature, "Names at
the rank of family and above are plural in form and therefore require
plural verbs and pronouns." Examples: "The Rosales are estimated to
comprise 6600 species." and "The Liliaceae are very diverse, and they have
been separated into..." Note the use of the definite article "The" in these

The CBE manual does not address the same questions in its discussion of
zoological nomenclature.

The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition (1993) does not address the
questions directly but refers to the CBE publication.

Editors can never settle arguments, only mediate them.

Ed Cushing

>At 08:47 AM 3/8/00 +0100, Peter Schuchert wrote:
>English is not my mother tongue, so could you please give me some advice on
>the correct usage of articles and taxon names? Are taxon names used with or
>without articles ?
>Are taxon names used in plural or singular? In the literature I found both

Edward J. Cushing
University of Minnesota
Dept Ecology, Evolution & Behavior
St. Paul, MN 55108

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