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The Oxford Style Manual Hardcover – September 25, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0198605645 ISBN-10: 0198605641

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1056 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198605641
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198605645
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 2.1 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This fine guidebook is an excellent choice....Highly recommended."--Library Journal

About the Author

Robert Ritter was an Editor for more than ten years in OUP's Academic Division; currently he is Publications Manager for the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. His wide-ranging editorial experience has been gained in a variety of publishing houses in both the UK and the USA. He is the editor of The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (2nd edn 2000), and the author of The Oxford Guide to Style (2002); he has also been a consultant editor for the Concise Oxford Dictionary and the OWLS.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Charles S. Houser VINE VOICE on March 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What is not clear from the listing for this book in most of OUP's promotional materials is that THE OXFORD STYLE MANUAL is really TWO books in one: THE OXFORD GUIDE TO STYLE and THE OXFORD DICTIONARY FOR WRITERS AND EDITORS. Even at the combined length of just over 1,000 pages, THE MANUAL is a manageable reference work, no more cumbersome than a standard collegiate dictionary.
Although, as an American, I will continue to use the CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE as my arbiter for editorial decisions, I find Oxford's manual an excellent way of distinguishing between British and American styles of English; Part II (the dictionary) is especially thorough in pointing out key differences. Also, beginning on page 244 in Part I is a list of about 500 everyday American words with their British equivalents (tick-tack-toe = noughts and crosses). Although it would be nice to have the same list in reverse (an American's undershirt is a "vest" in UK, and his vest is a "waistcoat", something that is not immediately clear from the way the list is put together), the list is short enough for anyone to read through and become familiar with. (The CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE has no equivalent list.)
In short, a good and thorough resource.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. REHMAN on December 2, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am writing my first book and want to be able to talk to the publishers with confidence and reduce their work. I may even decide to publish my book myself. The Oxford Style Manual is the only authentic book that I could find that can teach me the basics like the pats of a book, how to create them, in what order they should appear, etc. It also teaches details like punctuatio and formatting.

Even if you are not an aspiring author but just a lover of books, this book is recommendable. It gives you the ability of assessing the quality of a book.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book about ten years ago at the same time as the (15th edition of) the The Chicago Manual of Style, thinking it would be interesting to compare and decide which I would recommend over the other. Even if you write (as I do) in British English, there is little doubt that Chicago is the better book. The comparison would certainly be more strongly in favour of Chicago for American writers unless they want to check specifically British usage.

The first half of the book is described in the Preface as "the revised and enlarged edition of Horace Hart's Rules ...", but it is really the bloated edition. The 39th edition of Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University Press, Oxford packed an astonishing amount of useful information in less than 200 small-format pages. Here we have nearly 600 larger pages, so it is more the three times as long, but very far from being three times as useful.

So, what is in all this additional text? More than 100 pages are devoted to typesetting languages other than English, for example, and cover various languages that were not in Hart's Rules, such as Burmese, or are given here in far more detail, such as Catalan. This will, no doubt, be useful to writers who need to prepare documents in these languages, but I suspect they will constitute a small minority of readers.

Looking at this again today after having had it sitting unopened on my shelves for several years I feel that some of my objections to it may be unfair: it does contain a lot of useful information, and in general its advice is sound.
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful By P. Naulty on January 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought the Concise Oxford English Dictionary because I needed a dictionary that gave British English spelling and usage. For anyone wondering what I mean by "British English," the OED gives spelling, grammar, and usage used by the people of England and the U.K. and those who need to follow those rules. I already have a copy of the whole OED in reduced form, and the OED is online, but it was much easier for me to look things up quickly in the Concise version (1,681 pages, plus introductory pages).

As a word hound, I also like the several center pages: "English Uncovered" answers various questions about the English language, such as, "How many words are there in English?" and "What is the commonest word?" (there are 100), and "How is English spelling changed?" The next section, "Fascinating Words," lists and defines a variety of words, from absquatulate to zopissa. "Collective Nouns" lists, of course, collective nouns along with their meanings--from a shrewdness of apes to a herd of wrens. The section, "Imitative Words," gives those words that, well, imitate sound: bang, clip-clop, pop, and zip, for example. In "Foreign Words and Phrases" one finds, as the header says, various foreign words and phrases that "the English language has assimilated." The "Guide to Good English" covers basic rules of British English grammar and punctuation, a useful tool for discovering the differences between American rules of punctuation and British.

Along with giving the origins of the words defined, the COED puts into grey boxes how various words have changed in usage. For example, the history of the modern word "trivial" is given in the grey box following its definition: "Trivial entered Middle English from Latin trivium 'a place where three roads meet,' from tri--three and via 'road, way.
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