For those familiar with the first edition of 1981, this second edition will come as something of a shock. No longer is the book the size to slip into a pocket, or perch on that rare space on your desk. The pages are now three times bigger, but what has been lost in convenience has been balanced by greater coverage and easier use, so that someone wanting to check the spelling of blameable now gets an entry reading "blameable not
blamable (US)", rather than an instruction to "see -able". The Oxford University Press way, given here, is not the only way of doing things. Other publishers have other preferences, particularly for such things as spellings in -ise or -ize, but what this book will give you is a guide to a set of rules on when to hyphenate or combine words (use "blacklist" for the noun, not "black list" as recommended in the first edition); on doubtful or variable spellings ("gettable" not "getable"); the punctuation of abbreviations; dates and spellings of proper names, and all those other little things that are so difficult to be consistent about when writing. It is also an invaluable guide to words that are often confused such as biannual "twice every year, every six months" and biennial "every two years". This edition also keeps its charm for the browser, and is full of surprising, editor-confusing terms such as Aelia Laelia "an insoluble riddle" and pickelhaube "a German spiked infantry helmet". --Julia Cresswell
About the Author
Robert Ritter as an Editor for more than ten years in OUP's Academic Division; currently he is Publications Manager for the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. His wide-ranging editorial experience has been gained in a variety of publishing houses in both the UK and the USA. He is the editor of TheOxford Guide to Style (2002), which is the companion volume to The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (2nd edition 2000); he has also been a consultant editor for the Concise Oxford Dictionary and consultant for OWLS (the Oxford English Dictionary Word and Language Service).