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Sooo, for my recently acquired editing job I figured it was about time I upgraded to the latest (15th) edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, especially since I decided to give my unsuspecting victim client actual citation numbers from it in case he wants to learn more about why I suggest taking the apostrophe out of "1840's" and such like.

And I was shocked to discover they'd added an entirely new section, not on electronic or other technological issues but on GRAMMAR. Broken down into sections like "Nouns" and "Verbs." It saddened me, at first, to think that people who were at the level of writing or editing requiring use of said manual would actually not know what a noun or a verb was. But further contemplation has calmed me down, since the world is the way it is and that's the way it goes, so now I just hope it helps even a little bit. It is nice that they try to break things down simply and succinctly so one does not have to try wading through a deadly dull, eye-glazing grammar book because those are generally discouraging to folks not totally into grammar already. (Until, of course, I write my fandom porn grammar. The plan is to make all the sample sentences so bawdy that you can't wait to get to the next point of grammar. And maybe even learn something along the way. It may take me a while to get that together, though. And will most likely not be recommended by most teachers, editors and grammarians.)

The major silver lining of this new chapter is the section entitled "Glossary of Troublesome Expressions" (section 5.202, for anyone who cares). It does not seem to me likely that the people actually misusing these phrases will think to look them up here, but it does give the reader keen insight into the pet peeves of the various authors and editors of this section. Too funny. My favorites so far:

* "hopefully. The old meaning of the word ("in a hopeful manner") seems unsustainable; the newer meaning ("I hope" or "it is to be hoped") seems here to stay. But many careful writers deplore the new meaning."
Has there ever been a more poignant statement of grammatical defeat?? This was one of my late grandfather's MAJOR pet peeves, so he is no doubt spinning in his grave as we speak. Or at least his ashes are making a little windstorm somewhere.

* "but. Popular belief to the contrary, this conjunction usefully begins contrasting sentences, typically better than however. See 5.191."
Take that third grade teachers everywhere!!

* "numerous. This is typically a bloated word for many."

and finally

* "harebrained. So spelled (after the timid, easily startled animal) - not hairbrained."
Bwahahahahaaaa. Maybe one could make an exception for descriptions of Duo Maxwell?

Okay, enough of that. Sorry to bore people. My obsession with words and grammar as a source of entertainment is difficult to explain but I keep hoping I'll find people who share it. (I swear I'm not a nasty, sneering Grammar Nazi! HONEST. Let (s)he who is without sin cast the first stone, and all that.)


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April 2011

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