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New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage Hardcover – July 31, 1994

ISBN-13: 978-0062700643 ISBN-10: 0062700642 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Collins; 1 edition (July 31, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062700642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062700643
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #662,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

For years, the essential reference for writers, editors, book designers, proofreaders, indexers, and reference librarians in matters of style, publishing procedure, manuscript preparation, editing, typesetting, and usage has been the Chicago Manual of Style, first published in 1906 and now in its 14th edition (LJ 10/15/93). The title at hand is the most recent challenger to Chicago's dominance in the field. It seeks to set itself apart from the big orange book by including several chapters on grammar (Chicago doesn't treat grammar at all) and to court the nonprofessional writer and publisher by being less prescriptive and more flexible. Chicago essentially presents one style-its own. The New York Public Library Writer's Guide is a friendlier volume with 150 short sidebars on language and usage, including examples from William Safire, Norman Mailer, E.B. White, the Washington Post, and other popular and authoritative sources. Whether a volume like this is useful depends on the ease with which one can find the answers to the thousands of procedural questions that come up when putting words on a page for publication. Unfortunately, by including the grammar chapters and narrative side articles to little advantage, this work makes look-up more complicated, thereby diluting its usefulness. How many people will browse this book for pleasure? And anyone publishing something of length will still need to use a more comprehensive grammar reference. Its softer focus may make this guide more appealing for the home market, but the result is less useful as a manual. Stick to Chicago. You may also want to consider Marjorie Skillin's useful Words into Type.
Paul D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., Me.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The purpose of this guide is to help new and experienced writers and editors navigate today's world of electronic publishing, beginning with the writing of first drafts and ending with the delivery of computer disks or camera-ready copy.

In five parts, the guide covers (1) current English usage, with special attention given to bias-free language and commonly misused or confused words; (2) grammar, with an emphasis on controversial issues and with many illustrated examples; (3) style, including lists of common abbreviations and a chapter on special characters in 19 different languages; (4) assembling and checking the manuscript, including a discussion of copyright and instructions for indexing; and (5) physical preparation of the manuscript. Information regarding computer-aided writing and production is provided in all relevant sections. A topically arranged, annotated bibliography of style manuals and dictionaries (many of which are referred to in appropriate sections of the book) and an index conclude the volume.

Written by the staff of an editorial and production services company and aided by writers, indexers, librarians, copyright attorneys, printers, and bookstore owners, this guide's nonprescriptive approach is unpretentious. Unlike The Chicago Manual of Style, which is geared toward professional and academic writers, the Writer's Guide is aimed at a wide audience, including students and business and technical writers. Through numerous sidebars and illustrative examples, it provides an entertaining context that has universal appeal (e.g., baseball and physics comprise the context for explaining levels of usage, a quote from Norman Mailer illustrates dangling participles).

The Writer's Guide does not take the place of discipline-specific style manuals such as the MLA Style Manual, the CBE Manual for Authors and Editors, or the ACS Style Guide. It is also not meant to take the place of usage dictionaries such as Webster's Dictionary of English Usage. Instead, it will supplement more scholarly writing guides and will be an invaluable resource for writers whose publishers do not require strict adherence to a particular style manual. Its commonsense approach to documentation will help even scholarly writers who cannot find examples of difficult referencing problems in their discipline-specific style manuals, and it will be the first (and often only) stop for other writers. The Writer's Guide will be heavily used in all libraries, it is an excellent purchase for homes in which there are writers, and it will be a reference-desk staple (especially for telephone reference queries).

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 1999
As a professional writer and editor I have found this book to be the best resource for my everyday style and usage quandries. (And I have used several style guides.) It has been a great help in the last couple of months as I have been writing an editorial style guide for my employer. It's easy to navigate and provides information that can be understood by those of us who aren't rocket scientists. It also explains style and grammar issues and gives real-life examples.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 2000
I have a stack of grammar books at hand on my desk, from the classic Strunk & White's The Elements of Style to the witty and wise books of Patricia T. O'Conner, grammar grinch of the New York Times. None is so comprehensive and usable as the NY Public Library's guide. From welcome advice about "bias-free usage" to "the essential comma," the Library Guide gives down-to-earth and much-needed commentary about the problems writers face every day. My favorite section is Misued and Easily Confused Words, worth reading for its entertainment value alone. I've been a professional writer for over 30 years and only wish I could have had this volume with me all that time. I've tried the rest, this is the best. I just bought my son, who is working on his first book, a copy for Christmas.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 3, 2002
I'm the author of several popular computer programming books that amazon sells. The problem is, I'm not really a very good writer; my background is all technical. My Copy Editor recommended this book as the single best reference -- better than the Chicago Manual of Style or others. An excellent choice!
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