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The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage : The Official Style Guide Used by the Writers and Editors of the World's Most Authoritative Newspaper Rev Sub Edition

31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 002-9617030002
ISBN-10: 0812963881
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Editorial Reviews Review

"A foolish consistency," Emerson insisted, "is the hobgoblin of little minds." That may well be, but editors have enough reasons to reject your work; don't let sloppy inconsistencies be one of them. The New York Times Manual of Style & Usage was written for the paper's editors and writers, but it is a fine, up-to-date resource for anyone's use. Our language is ever-mutating, and a guide such as this will ensure that you understand the impact your words might have before they reach print. Should you use Native Americans or American Indians? Debark or disembark? Did you know that thermos is no longer a trademark, but that Popsicle and Dumpster are? Writing, when you get down to it, is nothing more than the careful choosing of words. This style book will ensure that you don't choose carat when you mean karat, jury-rigged when you want jerry-built, chow chow when chowchow is called for, or V-8 when you could have had a V8. A naysayer may bridle against the strictures of such a rule book, but the authors believe "the rules should encourage thinking, not discourage it." Plus, "a rule," they say, "can shield against untidiness in detail that might make readers doubt large facts." We'd call the book "user-friendly," but that, we've learned, can be downright "reader-tiresome." --Jane Steinberg

From Library Journal

This is an updated version of the style guide used by the writers and editors of the New York Times. (The last edition came out in 1982.) Aimed primarily at newspaper writers, it is written in dictionary format and covers a very broad range of style and usage topics, including abbreviations, city names, capitalizations, compound forms, numbers, and updated language preferences. It also includes special style changes and exceptions for headline writers. Everyone who wants to write for a newspaper will want this book, as its approach is fairly universal. It will also answer many reference questions and is fun to browse. Recommended for public and academic libraries.ALisa J. Cihlar, Monroe P.L., WI
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; Rev Sub edition (October 5, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812963881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812963885
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is structured as an A-Z reference guide, but I'm about halfway through reading it front to back as if it were a novel. I've already come across dozens of rules of usage that I would never have discovered on my own. They include the types of things you would never pick up from ordinary conversation or casual writing, since almost no one consistently uses them correctly. Do you know the difference between "masterful" and "masterly"? Neither did I. Do you treat the words "enormity" and "enormousness" as if they were synonyms? You shouldn't. Take a peak for yourself at this treasure trove of little known nuances of vocabulary, usage, and correct abbreviation. And it's actually fun to read.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Jack Block on January 8, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This excellent manual shows some of the care and thought that went into Fowler's, Modern English Usage first published in an Oxford University edition of the 1920's. Newer writers have filled the need to update old Fowler and "Americanize" the examples without markedly changing the rules of our language. In this respect, the present authors Siegal and Connelly have done a great job of updating everything that crossed their desks. It was revealing to see, for example, the use of MIRV in two conflicting applications. Also, the small caps font for related entries is very useful.
Yet, I am frustrated; the glossy cover conceals an unfortunate economy in its production. The paper reminds me of pulp novel stock and the binding of these 369 pages which will be well-thumbed, is likely to fall apart if the pages are opened for the book to rest flat on a table. The print size is fairly small, but most important, the print is weak, the paper greyish -- a hard combination to live with. If you have any vision problem, you will need to read this with a strong light.
The thoughtfully presented Foreword (yes, this book has a Foreword well worth reading) with its well-chosen examples of style is excellent -- on any kind of paper!
It's difficult, if not impossible, to produce an error-free text, even after more than one edition, but when it's more than a spelling or language error, it's worthy of mention: Entries for both Fahrenheit and Celsius should give conversions to each other, but the Fahrenheit does not convert to Celsius; you'll have to reverse the math yourself.

If you are going to use this as a frequent reference, opt for the hard-cover edition.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Carey on January 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Easy to navigate, has the answers to the questions you want, and you can find them instantly. I use this far more often than the Chicago Manual of Style or Strunk and White. It's small, well-organized, and has it all (most of it all, anyway).
I write fiction, and this guide works wonderfully anyway; I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to a fiction writer. Sometimes--but only rarely--entries don't apply to fiction writing, or the rules differ.
The manual is organized alphabetically, not just by subject, but the entire book is alphabetical. This makes it *so* much easier to find what I'm looking for than the other reference guides.
E.g.: Do titles of books go in quotes? Look up "book" and the answer is there. If the answer isn't there, this manual anticipates what you may be looking for and tells you: for titles, see "title." If you look up the word, "quote," it will tell you how to use quotation marks (not 2nd grade information, but every permutation of those gnawing things you just aren't quite sure about when writing a professional cover letter or a story). And again, it can anticipate what was left out of the "quote" entry and send you elsewhere.
It's a keyword book, organized alphabetically, beginning to end. It *is* the glossary, in a sense, but the glossary doesn't send you to a wordy, where's-what-I-want chapter; the info is succintly at hand. No need to spend any amount of time searching for your question, or answer; it's there for you, as is the reason for the usage. I'd call this the opposite of the Chicago Manual of Style, where time spent searching for where they may have chosen to put my question is an exercise in frustration.
This is a great reference guide for any writer's desk, and within my reach at all times.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I wish I had known about this book ten years ago. It's got almost everything I need, as a newsletter editor and technical writer. I love it and use it every day.
Strengths: In-depth explanation of hyphenation with prefixes (pre-, in-, under-), very useful for a technical writer.
Flaws: It's got a strong NY regional focus (to be expected) and omits some useful words such as "hitchhike".
I back it up with the AP stylebook and Fowler's Modern English Usage.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Robin on September 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
I would expect the world's leading daily newspaper to produce a pretty decent style guide and I was not disappointed with this edition. Having always worked in the design side of publishing, where it is necessary to be much more familiar with words and language than other areas of print design, I've collected a few style guides over the years. This manual and the one from The Economist I have found the most interesting.

The New York Times book offers clarity and sensibly an alphabetical solution to the contents so that you can look up, for instance, elements of punctuation individually rather than have them all grouped under Punctuation. The manual takes a whole page to explain the use of hyphens and intriguingly uses this example 'Use the suspensive hyphen rather than repeat the second part of a modifier, in cases like this: On successive days there were three-, five- and nine-inch snowfalls' Quite correct but not very elegant I thought. It is this attention to detail and the thoroughness of the manual that impressed me.

I think it is worth mentioning here a rather unique style guide by Keith Waterhouse (author of 'Billy Liar) called 'Waterhouse on newspaper style'. I frequently get this out because it such a joy to read. Originally produced for journalists on the Daily Mirror (in the past the leading British tabloid) it is alphabetical but concerned with style more than anything, part of the contents might give you a feel of the subject matter, Adjectives, Alliteration, And now, The asthmatic comma, Captions, Catchwords, Cliches (standard), Cliches (trade), Compression, Consequences, Crossheads, Dead letters, Dots and dashes. It was published in the UK by Viking in 1989 and is well worth searching out.
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