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4.7 out of 5 stars42
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 May 2008
This revised edition of the classic 'Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readers' is a pocket-sized goldmine of advice about good, clear English style and punctuation.

Fans of earlier editions may be disappointed at the extent of the revision; not a lot of the content of previous editions is left in the book. The most obvious cuts have been the advice to compositors, which were presumably made because the trade of compositor is now pretty much defunct in the world of digital printing. But they can console themselves, as I do, with the knowledge that older editions of the book are still available; my own (the 37th edition, trivia fans) is still on the shelf, and there are plenty of secondhand copies out there, if you're curious and want a taste of an earlier era of the OUP. In the meantime, it is ridiculous for working writers and editors to be nostalgic for redundant information in a book that was always designed to be of practical use.

It was a wise decision of the OUP to break up the huge and unwieldy Oxford Style Manual into the pocket-sized volumes of New Hart's Rules and the Dictionary for Writers and Editors. The advice is rock-solid, and the return to the small format makes the books far more manageable.

This is by far the most useful and concise style manual that I have encountered. I use it on a daily basis. I recommend it without reservation.
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on 28 May 2013
New Hart's Rules - The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors (by Oxford) is a most enjoyable, enlightening and educational book. It is cram-packed with advice, rules and has an excellent cross-reference system.

The book also points you to other works (notably different Oxford dictionaries) for when precise answers are need for each individual word - like in hyphenation - where to put the word break. The book also notes old rules and generally now accepted rules, as the passing of times things change and what was once unacceptable can now be acceptable.

The book also includes an index - a must! In addition, the text also covers the terms of writing and publishing and any derivative term(s) and name of which a word may come under. To-date, it is the most concise book I have come across and is actually a revised and updated version of The Oxford Guide to Style (2002) with a return to the original Hart's name of 1893 (Preface).
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on 3 June 2011
An excellent buy for anyone considering taking up proofreading/copy-editing. Full of clear, succinct examples of grammar and punctuation, with guidance on publishing standards. I'm constantly dipping into it.
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on 9 October 2011
As a designer, News Harts Rules is one of those brilliant little books that I repeatedly refer to when I'm working on book, magazine or publishing projects. It's full of fantastically useful information nuggets that are hard to track down elsewhere but that are essential when you're editing and typesetting text.

The correct order and names for preliminary book pages, copyright conventions, a guide to the correct use of capitalisation, accents and diacritical marks in dozens of languages, how to mark up copy correctly, and how to correctly reference and citate are just a few of the areas covered.

The book will be indispensable as a reference tool if you're a writer, an editor, a designer or a a typesetter or if your work is in any way connected with the process of pulling together text into a publishing project.

Put simply: indispensible, encyclopaedic and rather blinking good.
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on 12 March 2009
Ever have to write a report? Send an important email to a boss or client? Use quotations or other references in a presentation? Copy editing, proofreading and typesetting (or general layout) used to be specialised jobs when the only way your words were going to be put in front of the public was after they'd been through a setting, proofing and printing process and appeared in solid form as a book, brochure or pamphlet.

In the last 20 years, we've all become self-publishers, so why not get things right? 1970s or 1970's? What do you call a fish with four i's? Does that look right?

This book was recommended to me by a professional copy editor and if you care about abbreviations, capitalisations, dialogue layout, use of foreign phrases etc. etc. you'll enjoy this book. If you ever have doubts about things like this, you'll find it useful too.

I speak as someone who does rely on the written word a great deal although I'm not a professional writer or editor - I don't believe there's any single universal resource that covers all aspects of writing - and presenting - English in a consistent and clear way but if you're the sort of person that has a couple of different dictionaries, at least one edition of Fowler and who sometimes wonders despairingly whether it's time to give up on the distinction between imply and infer and accept that an elephant is a creature of considerable enormity I'd warmly recommend this book.
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on 29 September 2013
The book has chapters on The parts of a Book, Spelling & hyphenation, Punctuation, Capitalization, Languages, Law, Science, Lists & tables, Illustrations, these are just a part of what is in the book. It's an extremely useful guide on how a book is prepared. Also a section on proof reading with the type of symbols used in correcting errors. Even the Serial comma is explained lucidly.
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on 28 March 2011
Authoritative, concise, excellently indexed this is THE must-have style oracle in a deceptively handy size. Brilliant as the style reference work and also interesting and pleasing enough for the occasional browse too.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2008
Yes it isn't an update to the original Harts, so on that basis it loses a star due to OUP's re-use of the brand for something new.

Judging the book on its own merits, it is concise, clear, compact and reasonably authoritative. I would also say it goes wider than some style guides and looks at overall composition of a book (not all of which would be relevant to an author).

It also covers a very broad range of written material as you would expect from OUP, including mathematics, indexing, tables, captions and so forth.

Having had a lot of exposure to composition this is I would say written from the write point of view - I just need to find an second hand copy to satisfy my nostalgia for the original!
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on 26 December 2014
This is part of essential equipment for anyone who aspires to write good English. I use Hart's New Rules with the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors and now my wife has replaced my much used and tattered Oxford Concise Dictionary with
The Oxford Dictionary of English I look forward to 2015 in the sure knowledge I shall produce my chef d'oeuvre.
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on 18 May 2006
If you are familiar with Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readers, this new edition can only disappoint you, and bitterly at that. It has stripped away all the vital and excellent information to make your typesetting look professional and replaced it with mountains of advice for copy editors. Unfortunately this ground is already better covered elsewhere, while the advice for compositors is lost forever. Also lost is much of the archaic charm.
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