Public editor: Why some words have accents in the Globe and others don’t

 By Sylvia Stead, public editor of The Globe and Mail

 By Sylvia Stead, public editor of The Globe and Mail

I regularly hear from readers who complain that The Globe and Mail misses accents on Spanish, German or several other languages. They argue especially that an accent is often part of a name and is well known with someone like Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, which includes a tilde on the “n” in Pena.

The Globe’s policy is to use accents on French names and words but not on words in other languages. The belief is that Canadian editors should know the correct accents for French words but cannot be expected to know the accents for other languages. I think that is a fair policy.

Still, that policy is not followed well on French words and many accents are either missed or the wrong one is included. This should not be happening with either common French words or names. All personal names and company names should be checked and verified where possible, whether in English or French. Part of that check should be to see if there is an accent.

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