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New Hart's Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors (Reference) Hardcover – 22 Sep 2005
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Top customer reviews
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.
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).
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.
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.