Saturday, November 03, 2007

Why I'm a Big Editing Geek...

Because I laugh my tuchus off sometimes while reading the Q&A entries on the online Chicago Manual of Style:

Q. Is it ever possible to put a period after other punctuation as in: He had asked, “Will she go?.”

A. It’s definitely possible, but it would be wrong.


Q. For those who make a hobby of cruising garage sales, are they going “garage sale-ing,” “garage saling,” or “garage saleing?” Or are they not permitted this usage?

A. Oh, my. Is garage saleing anything like parasailing? The mind boggles. As you suspected, this phrase would not survive the red pencil at Chicago. (Why can’t you just go to garage sales?) I can tell you that suffixes like “ing” don’t normally take a hyphen. After that, you’re on your own.


Q. If Susan has a master’s degree in publishing, does Betty have master's degrees in publishing and literature?

A. I have no idea, but I can tell you that the question is styled correctly.


Q. At the annual meeting of our local PBK chapter, dispute on the pronunciation of “archival” arose: whether the stress falls on the first or the second syllable. Give us your wisdom. I will pass it on in the column I write weekly in a local paper about any subject that pops into my head.

A. As a style guide for writers, CMOS must resist the temptation to weigh in on an issue of pronunciation. We are editors, absorbed in our manuscripts. We can go for days without even speaking. I suggest you consult the linguists who write dictionaries for this purpose. (I’m sorry this won’t give you anything to put in your column, but thanks for your help with mine.)


And thank you to you witty CMOS editors for helping with mine!

5 comments:

Helen said...

I like the idea of garage-sailing. I this image in my mind of lots of garages with sails on top...

(un)relaxeddad said...

I'll add one recent interview classic from an interviewee who told us that she was a socialist. Feeling this was an unusual statement in the context of an interview, we probed a little. Seems she loves to socialise...

Henitsirk said...

Helen: I picture a little kid up on the roof of a garage in a windstorn with a big sail made of a bedsheet, playing pirate captain.

URD: Oh, my. Ever since I got in trouble as a girl for using the word "shmuck" in front of my mother, I've steered clear of using any word in conversation that I cannot define with confidence!

thegoodwitch said...

You must read "Eats Shoots and Leaves" by Lynne Truss. A grammarian's laugh-riot! If there are so many of us grammar-nerds in the world, why are there still dropped apostrophes everywhere?

Henitsirk said...

Oh yes, that is a funny book! I try to be a bit more gentle about haranguing about grammar and spelling than she does.