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On the Web Fri Nov 12 2010

CMOS is Written By...Humans?

The Chicago Manual of Style -- the I-swear-to-use-the-serial-comma-so-help-me-University-of-Chicago-Press bible for editors and writers and "everyone who works with words" -- doesn't just appear on shelves and on the internet in its pure form. It is actually written by real-live human beings, who gather in meeting rooms and debate whether blog names should be italicized or in quotes. (If I sound glib, I don't mean to -- I am honestly in awe of these editors.) Carol Fisher Saller, the "Subversive Copy Editor" and an editor of the CMOS, now in its 16th edition, has posted a list of "outtakes" from those debates, which the editor and grammar nerd in me finds wonderful. Below are my favorites:

"I agree with everyone else that it looks sufficiently ugly as is."

"I'm going to take some notes, as if we were saying important things."

"Please stop using spreadsheet as a verb. Are you gonna spreadsheet that?"

"I'm sorry, there are errors in the error messages."

"If you want to try talking the designer into using Times New Roman, be my guest, buddy."

"When you really think about it, what is an en dash good for?"

"That phrase is inherently nonprecise."

"You mean to tell me you looked at the spacing around all the apostrophes?"

 
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