Some people get so excited when they talk about capital letters that they become breathless. Anita Samen, an editor of the new 15th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, published this month, is one of them. \n"I am so excited about this manual I can't even talk!" Samen said, interrupting herself on the phone the other day as she was describing the proper use of regular size and smaller size capital letters. (More about that later.) \n"Heads are spinning," Samen said, among those authors, editors and publishers who regard the Chicago Manual as the bible of printing style, grammar and punctuation. \nIt has been 10 years since the last edition of the manual, which is published by the University of Chicago Press. That one has sold 500,000 copies. \nThe new one is the most significant revision since the 12th edition in 1969. It is the first edition, for instance, to address electronic publishing seriously. It also has the manual's first chapter on grammar and usage, written by Bryan Garner, with instructions on whether it is all right to use "and" and "but" at the beginning of a sentence. "And" has been OK since Chaucer's time, Garner said. \n"The shibboleth persists that it isn't," he said. But the great grammarian H.W. Fowler, author of Modern English Usage, called it "a monstrous doctrine," he said. Garner, himself the author of A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, did a study on the issue. "Ten percent of sentences in first-rate writing begin with `and' or `but,'" he said. \nThe new manual is a result of 10 years of queries and suggestions from readers. "We used to take style questions over the phone," said Samen, who is also managing editor of the books division of the University of Chicago Press. "I always thought we should make it a 900 number." \nShowing how that might go, she lowered her voice seductively: "You want to use a hyphen there? Ooooo, that's very naughty!" \nThe editors also placed queries on Internet discussion groups used by writers, publishers and copy editors. The process was coordinated by Linda Halvorson, the press' editorial director for reference books, and Mary Laur, the reference division's project editor. \nFor the first time, the manual had an advisory board with representatives from the academic world, publishing and the electronic communications industry -- among them, the Shakespearean scholar David Bevington of the University of Chicago; Mary Knoblauch, the recently retired writing coach of The Chicago Tribune; June Smith, president of the college division of Houghton Mifflin; and John Hevelin of Sun Microsystems. \nThe final decisions were made by a team of some 20 representatives of departments of Chicago Press, including production, design and information systems. \nNot surprisingly, given the passionate nature of editors, there were disagreements along the way. A big one, Samen said, was about hyphens and dashes. There are three kinds. The biggest are "em" dashes and are used to set off explanatory phrases like, "My friends -- that is, my former friends -- ganged up on me." The middle-size or "en" dashes are traditionally used to connect a range of things, like "the July-August issue of a magazine." The smallest, the hyphens, are used in compound words like "a tie-in for a television show." \nMaybe it was time, Samen suggested, to retire the middle-size one. It wasn't necessary anymore, she said, and it didn't aid comprehension. But no. Samen's idea was met with strong opposition from people on the Internet discussion groups. Finally, in an e-mail message (spelled with a hyphen in the Chicago Manual), Samen capitulated. \n"I surrender!" she wrote to another editor. "I'm the only managing editor on the planet who does not looooove the en dash!" \nThe manual had its beginning 100 years ago when typesetters at the University of Chicago Press wrote up a list of dos and don'ts. The first edition was published in 1906. It had some endearing advice. Page 99: "Read everything as if you yourself were the author, and your reputation and fortune depended upon its accuracy." On the same page: "Don't stultify yourself and discredit the office by asking foolish questions on the proof." (All editors take note.) \nAnd on Page 100: "As for authors, typographically they very often do not know what they want until they see it in type and not always then." Point taken. \nAmong the major changes in the new manual: \nCapital letters. The old manual recommended using small capitals in some cases, like AM and PM. But it is difficult for writers on a word processor to switch from regular size capitals to smaller. "In the new edition we now prefer lower case a.m. and p.m., with periods in between," Samen said, "and we are saying small caps are an alternative." \nOrdinal numbers. The Manual used to prefer 3d and 2d, but it is now OK to use 2nd and 3rd, "like the rest of the world," Samen pointed out. \nDates. Previous editions recommended the British style: 1 July 2003. Now one can write them "the way everybody does it in real life," Samen said: July 1, 2003. \nInevitably the manual reflects social change. One of the biggest problems was how Web addresses should be written. Web sites are increasingly used by authors as sources of information for books and articles. \n"There is no totally received wisdom about how to cite electronic sources," said Halvorson, the press' editorial director for reference books. \nThe problem, she said, is that Web addresses change constantly. "That was the thing people got most exercised about," she said. There was a debate on whether to include full or shortened addresses, or URLs. \n"In the end, we decided it was in the interest of people being able to track down sources to include full URLs," she said.
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
‘SACRIFICED’: Hu Weifeng became the sixth doctor to die from COVID-19 at Wuhan Central Hospital, where calls to raise the alarm over the virus were suppressed The death of a Chinese doctor at Wuhan’s “whistle-blower hospital” has prompted a wave of anger at hospital authorities for not protecting front-line health workers in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hu Weifeng (胡衛鋒), 42, a urologist at Wuhan Central Hospital where the whistle-blower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang (李文亮) worked, died of the virus on Tuesday after a four-month battle. Hu is the sixth doctor from his hospital killed by the virus. Another doctor who spoke out, Ai Fen (艾芬), said that authorities told hospital staff not to wear protective gear so as not to cause panic and reprimanded her for “harming
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear