Chicago Style Workout 21:
Word Usage, Part 4

En garde!

This month’s workout, “Word Usage, Part 4,” centers on section 5.250 of CMOS 17. Today we focus on words beginning with the letter h. Writing and editing are more efficient when you never have to look up harken or dither over hangar versus hanger.

Advanced editors might tackle the questions cold; learners can study those sections of the Manual before answering the questions. Take your time—some questions are not as simple as they seem!

(Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the linked sections of the Manual. For a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online, click here.)

Notes

  • These questions are designed to test knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style, which prefers Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Other style guides may follow a different dictionary.
  • Although this workout is based on  the 17th edition of the Manual, the styles covered in this quiz either are the same as in the 16th edition or were not previously addressed.

Chicago Style Workout 21: Word Usage, Part 4 (CMOS 5.250)

1. half. {half the state are solidly Democratic} {half the people is Republicans}
a.  
b.  
2. hangar; hanger. {airplane hangars} {picture hangers}
a.  
b.  
3. handful. {a handful of trouble is ahead} {a handful of walnut trees line Main Street}
a.  
b.  
4. hanged; hung. {criminals were hanged at Tyburn Hill}
a.  
b.  
5. hark back. {these runes harken back to ancient times}
a.  
b.  
6. historic; historical. {January 16, 1991, was a historical day in Kuwait}
a.  
b.  
7. hoard; horde. {they hoarded goods against the invasion of the horde}
a.  
b.  
8. hoi polloi. {expensive goods that only the hoi polloi can afford}
a.  
b.  
9. home/hone in. {the missile homed in on the target}
a.  
b.  
10. hopefully. {hopefully, the treasure will still be there}
a.  
b.  
c.  

 

~ ~ ~

P.S. We welcome discussion! Please use the comments feature below.
(Spoiler alert: Commenters may discuss the workout and their answers!)

Previous Chicago Style Workouts

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this pageShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on TumblrPin on Pinterest

7 thoughts on “Chicago Style Workout 21:
Word Usage, Part 4

  1. First, there is a typo in the article. It says “you never have to look up harken or dither over hanger versus hanger.” But it one of the words should be “hangar” instead of “hanger.”

    Secondly, there’s at least one answer that is arguably incorrect—even according to your own style guide.

    6. January 16, 1991, was a historical day in Kuwait. Not knowing enough about history, I have no idea if this was a “momentous” day or not. I understand the difference between the two words, but if it *was* a momentous day, then there is nothing wrong with the word used. The only way to judge if “historical” is wrong is if you *state* that this particular day was not momentous. It shouldn’t be assumed that everybody knows this bit of history.

    • Oh! I just realized. Even though my statement above stands, I answered the question of whether or not “historical” is correct as “correct”. But your site marked the answer as wrong. (I double checked this.) Which doesn’t make sense. No matter what, something in the past will *always* be historical. If it was an “historical day,” it’s a day that took place in the past—as opposed to a day that *will be* historical once it has come and gone. So, answering that way is always right. (It’s only if something was “momentous” or not that determines if something that was historical can also be historic.) Therefore, although I think there isn’t enough information here to say if “historic” is correct or incorrect, “historical” should always be correct. But your software is saying that it’s incorrect …

      • But there actually is a useful difference between the two words. While a statement like “January 16, 1991, was a historical day” is literally true because it took place in history, it’s an awkward truism (equivalent to writing “January 16, 1991, took place in history”) and therefore it is a misuse of historical that a good writer would avoid. An event or era can be historical; a day, not so much.

        • That’s a good point. However, the fact that something is merely awkward—rather than actually incorrect—seems a bit out of place among the other questions in the quiz. Every other word used in the test was a clear example of something unquestionably true or false. This particular example is more “debatable,” and while some people might grimace at the use of “a historical day,” they would still have to grudgingly say that it was grammatically correct (even if uncommon). The discussion of what “shouldn’t” be said is useful, but puts a different slant on things. (After looking at the other questions now, I realize that the last one also falls into the same category to some degree; it, too, can be seen as a style choice, one I’ve seen debated, rather than just a lexicographical statement.)

          Having said all of that, I have to be fair and rebut myself. At the top of the test, it clearly states that the quiz “centers on section 5.250 of CMOS 17.” If the guide says to avoid something, even if it’s literally correct, then marking the answer as incorrect is reasonable—in terms of the guide’s recommendations. I answered the questions without actually looking at or considering the guide specifically. I likely fooled myself. I should have been more careful and asked myself not only what was technically correct but what the guide recommends.

          I enjoyed the quiz. But I enjoyed this discussion about the quiz even more!

Comment