Harmless Drudge: Yet Another Copy Editing Link
Posted: 27 July 2010 06:52 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Johnson ironically takes dictionaries down a peg.

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Posted: 27 July 2010 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Except that he wrecks his own antiauthoritarian point when he says:

In some cases I might disagree with our style book. I obey it nonetheless, because rulings, even when arbitrary, keep a style consistent, so readers aren’t finding “Web sites” here and “websites” there in the same article. Readers expect and enjoy uniformity as a mark of quality.

Well, duh.  Which is why style guides and dictionaries exist and are adhered to, so all his snarking about “the dictionary” is really kind of pointless, except to vent wounded authorial feelings.

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Posted: 27 July 2010 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Except, “our style guide says...” is somewhat different than “the dictionary says...” The former is a statement of the what the particular guidance issued by the publisher is, the other is an appeal to generic authority.

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Posted: 27 July 2010 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, no, it’s an appeal to the authority used by the publisher, just like the style guide.  When I edit for OUP, I go by Chicago and M-W, the latter being “the dictionary” for their purposes.

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