[Eric] Clapton is God

Bracketing is back. Here’s a quote from the Associated Press story about the death of Ike Turner from the man himself:

You can go ask Snoop Dogg or Eminem, you can ask the Rolling Stones or [Eric] Clapton, or you can ask anybody ā€” anybody, they all know my contribution to music.

For some reason, the AP feels the need to clarify which Clapton is mentioned here by inserting his first name into this direct quote. No, Turner wasn’t talking about Bruce Clapton, Ashley Clapton or any random Clapton on the planet. He was talking about Eric. Readers everywhere are saved from possible Clapton confusion. Whew!

As my colleague Bill Cloud asks: If it were Mozart, would you add [Wolfgang]?

Previous posts on this topic here.



  1. It’s odd how Snoop Dogg and Eminem are allowed without explanation, but the only real name in the bunch must play by the copy desk’s rules.

  2. Brian,

    At least this story didn’t refer to the rapper as Snoop [Doggy] Dogg in the Turner quote.

    In my experience, copy desks discourage brackets in quotes, especially in stories by reporters who rely heavily on the practice.

    It’s also a guideline I talk about in my editing classes, although students still have the urge to splice in material. A paraphrase or paragraph to introduce the quote usually works better.

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