rock ‘n’ roll; rock-‘n’-roll; rock’n’roll; rock and roll; rock-and-roll; rock & roll. Each of these is listed in at least one major American dictionary. “Rock ‘n’ roll” is probably the most common; appropriately, it has a relaxed and colloquial look. “Rock and roll” and “rock-and-roll” are somewhat more formal than the others and therefore not very fitting with the music itself. The others are variant spellings — except that “rock-‘n’-roll,” with the hyphens, is certainly preferable when the term is used as a phrasal adjective {the rock-‘n’-roll culture of the 1960s}. Fortunately, the editorial puzzle presented by these variations has largely been solved: almost everyone today refers to “rock music” or simply “rock.” Increasingly, “rock ‘n’ roll” carries overtones of early rock — the 1950s-style music such as “Rock Around the Clock,” by Bill Haley and the Comets. For information about the Language-Change Index, click here. ——————– Quotation of the Day: “Bad writers are commoner than good and play a larger part in bandying notions about in the world.” I.A. Richards, The Philosophy of Rhetoric 4 (1936; repr. 1965).
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