This week we’re celebrating our new book, But Can I Start a Start a Sentence with “But”?, a selection of our favorite questions and answers from The Chicago Manual of Style Online’s monthly Q&A.
CMOS receives regular queries from readers asking whether greetings like “Hi, Elsa” really need that comma. Especially in e-mail messages, we hear, it looks fussy. And it takes so long to type!
For Freelance Editors: How to Set Fees. Anyone who has something to sell faces a dilemma when it comes to deciding on a price: ask too much and no one will buy; ask too little and you won’t earn enough money. In freelance editing, the second option carries an added danger: ask too little and you could be swamped with competing deadlines.
The Editor’s Toughest Challenge. In my view, the most regrettable copyediting disasters come in the form of errors introduced by the editor. Letting a writer’s original mistake survive is certainly cause for regret, but nothing’s worse than knowing that the work was correct until you messed it up!
“Work-to-Rule”: Advice for Meeting a Deadline. Merriam-Webster.com defines “work-to-rule” as “the practice by workers of refusing to do any work that is not strictly required as a part of their jobs in order to protest something (such as unfair working conditions).” Well, that’s too harsh for my purposes. But it hints
Do You Follow Grammar “Rules” That You Don’t Understand? Those of us who use social media are used to seeing comments from sticklers who object to the slightest deviation from the grammar rules they learned. The following sentences would not likely pass their inspection. Can you tell why?
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. He is chair of the Usage Panel of The American Heritage Dictionary and often writes for the New York Times, Time, and the New Republic. After years of research and numerous books on visual cognition and the psychology of language, he has now . . .
Bill Walsh has been at the Washington Post’s copy desk for nearly two decades, riding out changes in both the newspaper business and the wider world of publishing. He helms their live grammar and style chat, Grammar Geekery with Bill Walsh, ruling on everything from hashtags to whether puns are encouraged at the Post.
Every day, Mignon Fogarty takes on questions ranging from where to properly place commas, to what is a gerund, to whether Pig Latin is considered a language.