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Words Into Type, 3rd Edition Hardcover – 1974

4.5 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 586 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice-Hall, Inc.; 3rd Revised edition (1974)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001TI1R7C
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is simply the best guide available for grammar, style, and usage. As a professional editor, I believe this reference is far superior to the Chicago manual or any other published guide to grammar and usage. It is clear, well-organized, and comprehensive. The index is tremendously helpful. The sole problem with Words Into Type is that it was published before we all started using computers, and therefore parts of the book dealing with the technical aspects of publishing are dated. Nevertheless, it remains the best grammar and usage text available. I use my copy almost daily. It is the most indispensable reference book on my shelf.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great style guide; however, it hasn't been updated to include technology and practice for even the late twentieth century! When talking computer technology, Words into Type talks about cathode ray tubes, for crying out loud. Having said all that, it is in many cases, much more user-friendly than the Chicago Manual of Style. Where Chicago can be vague or indecisive, Words is most helpful. Apart from the fact that Words really needs to be updated, it's an invaluable tool. Since it hasn't been updated since 1974, you'd be better offbuying a used copy than plunking down good dough for a text that's 30 years old.
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By A Customer on May 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
Anyone in the business of putting words onto paper has no need to read these reviews: He already knows that Words into Type is an indispensable companion in his craft.
In a headline, should both words in a hyphenated compound be capitalized? Words into Type lets you know. Does one acquiesce "to," "with," or "in" something? Words into Type has the answer. Should a noun before a gerund always be possessive? Words into Type is ready with reassuring guidance.
As this edition of Words into Type approaches the end of its third decade, portions of it may seem quaintly out of date. Other books can give you a more current account of the printing process, for example. But for matters of style--tables, footnotes, typography, copy editing, and much else besides--no other book gives better guidance than this underappreciated volume.
As an editor, my reference shelf is brimming with style guides, and Words into Type is the most dog-eared among them. A professional writer or editor would make do with nothing less.
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Format: Paperback
Granted, the most recent edition came out in 1974, but Words Into Type is still the reference I turn to first with grammar and usage questions. (For style, I keep the NY Times Manual of Style and Usage handy.) Unlike the Chicago Manual of Style, WIT has a usable index that must have been put together by a mind-reader. It's organized the way people think and usually anticipates the form my bewilderment will take: Does "what" take a plural or singular verb? The answer's under "what" in the index. Should I say "as if it was" or "as if it were"? Look under "If clauses." Is it different from or different than? The index leads me right to my answer. I wish the editors would come out with a new edition, but for now I'm loyal to the increasingly ancient Third.
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Format: Paperback
I've been a professional copyeditor on major national publications for 15 years, and I wouldn't be without this book. Since the new edition won't be out anytime soon, get this! Clear, informative, with an excellent index. Who cares about the Optima typeface? The information here is valuable.
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Format: Paperback
Somebody who had read my review of Bryan A Garner's Modern American Usage, 2nd ed. (2003)--IMHO, the preeminent book on usage, per se--wrote me the other day asking about a good book on typographical style. I recommended Words into Type which I have used for many years. But as I prepared to write a review, I was amazed to learn that a new edition of this outstanding reference work is lacking.

What we have here is the Third Edition from 1974, the same book I have in front of me. Yet, so much has changed since 1974--including the invention and phenomenal growth of a little thing called the Internet--that a new and updated work is sorely needed. On the other hand, so much in terms of what is appropriate style in the publishing world has not changed, which means that this venerable and authoritative work remains a most valuable addition to anyone's library.

First, a note on "style" as used here and as understood in the publishing business. Style does not refer to what should more properly be called the writer's "mode of expression," nor does it refer to such things as elegance or flair in wordsmithing; and yet it does have something to do with "fashion" in terms of how words, numbers, and symbols appear on the pages of books, magazines, and newspapers. In this sense "style" refers to "the rules or customs of spelling, punctuation, and the like..." (from Random House Webster's College Dictionary).

Style should therefore be contrasted with and compared to usage and grammar. Indeed Words into Type includes in its pages plenty of advice on grammar and usage. Part V is devoted to "Use of Words" and Part VI to "Grammar.
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